MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The 6,000 Rutherford County Schools’ students were often loud. Maybe too noisy for the visiting Trevecca men’s basketball team. But the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders did not mind at all.
Propelled by the cheering crowd of youngsters and other fans, the Blue Raiders raced to a 104-52 victory against the NCAA Division II Trojans Friday (Nov. 10) in a regular season game in Murphy Center.
It marks the second year of the partnership between MTSU athletics and men’s basketball and the county schools.
Lydia Braswell, 11, sang the national anthem with other Rockvale Elementary School students. Homer Pittard Campus School’s Deacon Jones, 11, stood next to the Raiders Giddy Potts while the anthem was being performed. A third fifth-grader, Eli Coffman, 10, of Buchanan Elementary, won a green Huffy bicycle during a musical chairs (minus the chairs and using a large rubber ball) halftime activity.
Braswell said it was “awesome and incredible … this was a great opportunity” to sing in front of thousands of people, including her peers. “This was so much fun.”
Campus School fifth-grade teacher Debbie Frisby said Jones was selected to stand next to a Blue Raider player or coach “because of the way he handles the responsibility as leader of the flag corps” at school.”
“It was fun to do that and just getting to come here,” Jones said. “He (Potts) patted me on the back, then had to get back to the team.” Jones also enjoyed the free time being with his friends from school.
A slightly surprised Coffman said it was “cool” to win the bicycle.
“This shows we have a great community partnership with the school system and we also made it educational,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said.
For Rutherford County Schools’ Director Don Odom, the partnership “is about implanting possibility.”
“There are many children who have never had the opportunity to step onto a college campus and today’s event was a good opportunity for students to see others performing at a high level at a university,” Odom added.
The students enjoyed singing and dancing to “YMCA” and other songs played throughout the game.
Four players scored in double figures for the Raiders, who were led by Nick King’s 17 points and six rebounds. Coach Kermit Davis played 13 players, substituting frequently, with 11 different players scoring.
Middle Tennessee (1-0) returns to action Monday, Nov. 13, at Murray State.