NIT Tournament 2012, Tennessee Vs. Middle Tennessee: Vols Go Cold Late, Blue Raiders Advance

Playing for a spot in the NIT Quarterfinals, the fourth-seeded Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders and the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers enjoyed a back-and-forth affair before the Blue Raiders completely clamped down on defense late. The Volunteers didn't score a point in the final seven minutes and 14 seconds, and the Blue Raiders won, 71-64.

I should probably repeat that. The Volunteers didn't score a point for the final seven minutes and 14 seconds of the game. This is after scoring 64 points in the first 33 minutes. Much of that can be attributed to the Blue Raiders' defense, but something happened mentally for the Vols that turned the basket from its normal shape to the size of a thumbtack. They continued to shoot, and nothing would go down.

Bruce Massey led the Blue Raiders with 20 points on 6-10 shooting and 10 rebounds, a mammoth performance in a huge game. Jeronne Maymon was huge for the Vols, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds, but he was one of the main contributors to the late cold stretch. The Blue Raiders face the winners of Miami-Minnesota in the quarterfinals Wednesday night.

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. A full bracket can be found here, and be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament hub for more on the Big Dance.

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