MTSU men's basketball stays perfect in C-USA with 72-57 win against LA Tech

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MTSU coach Kermit Davis after his team's 72-57 win over LA Tech at Murphy Center on Thursday night. Erik Bacharach/DNJ

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MTSU’s Tyrik Dixon (0) goes up for a shot as La Tech’s Joniah White (5) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.(Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ)Buy Photo

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MURFREESBORO —The MTSU men‘s basketball team remained perfect in C-USA play with a 72-57 win against Louisiana Tech at Murphy Center on Thursday night.

MTSU (12-4, 4-0 C-USA) was led by its overwhelming duo in the frontcourt. Brandon Walters had 18 points on 7 of 7 shooting, seven rebounds and three blocks, and Nick King notched his third straight double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Tyrik Dixon added nine points, five assists and five rebounds for MTSU, which shot 49.1 percent from the field.

DaQuan Bracey had 16 points for Louisiana Tech (10-8, 1-4).

The Blue Raiders next host Southern Miss at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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Buy Photo MTSU’s Tyrik Dixon (0) goes up for a shot as La Tech’s Joniah White (5) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Karl Gamble (25) dunks the ball during the game against La Tech on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Brandon Walters (1) brings down a rebound as La TechÕs Daquan Bracey (4) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Nick King (5) shoots a free throw after a technical foul was call during the game against La Tech on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Nick King (5) goes up for a shot as La TechÕs Joniah White (5) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Tyrik Dixon (0) grabs a loose ball as La TechÕs Amorie Archibald (3) goes for it on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.   HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Giddy Potts (20) moves the ball around the court as La TechÕs Daquan Bracey (4) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Nick King (5) and La TechÕs Jy‘lan Washington (22) both go for rebounds on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSU‘s head coach Kermit Davis yells from the sidelines of the game against La Tech on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Antwain Johnson (2) goes up for a shot as La TechÕs Joniah White (5) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Brandon Walters (1) brings down a rebound as La TechÕs Daquan Bracey (4) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo La Tech‘s Derric Jean (1) grabs a rebound during the game against MTSU on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs David Simmons (21) goes up for a shot as La TechÕs Oliver Powell (35) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Nick King (5) goes to the goal as La TechÕs Anthony Duruji (10) defends him on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSUÕs Giddy Potts (20) goes up for a 3 point shot shot during the game against La Tech on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at MTSU.  HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo MTSU graduate student Brandon Moore takes a selfie with the NCAA championship trophy Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. that is on tour to different schools during the basketball season. The trophy was on display at Murphy Center before the menÕs game against La Tech.   HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo The NCAA championship trophy was on display at Murphy Center before the menÕs game against La Tech, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The currently on tour and will be on display at different schools during the basketball season.   HELEN COMER/DNJBuy Photo The NCAA championship trophy was on display at Murphy Center before the men’s game against La Tech, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. The currently on tour and will be on display at different schools during the basketball season.   HELEN COMER/DNJ

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MTSU dominates the glass

MTSU, playing in its first home game in 33 days, was plus-15 on the boards (41-26), its best rebounding margin of the season.

It‘s these type of rebounding performances, King said, that will help MTSU move from solid wins to dominant wins.

“Any game where you kind of blow the team out in rebounding, that means you kind of dominated the game,” King said. “We’ve been putting an emphasis on that because every game we’ve played, every game we’ve won, it’s been close. We haven’t just been a dominant team like we should have. And it starts off with rebounding.

“We’ve been trying to put an emphasis on that for the past couple of weeks, rebounding and being a dominant team, and we did that tonight.”

LA Tech‘s potent offense stifled

Louisiana Tech entered Thursday averaging 80.5 points a game and on the heels of a 97-point effort in a win over UTEP.

But against the Blue Raiders, LA Tech stumbled. The Bulldogs were limited to their lowest scoring output of the season and just 36.8 percent shooting from the field. 

MTSU offense runs smoother in second half

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But after taking a 32-30 lead into halftime, the Blue Raiders saw their offense run smoother in the second half with seven assists on 13 baskets.

“We didn’t do a good enough job with ball movement (in the first half),” Davis said. “And then the second half, we got up-tempo, we got it in transition a little bit, the ball moved, we started driving the ball.

“It wasn’t terrific tonight, but it was better.”

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