MTSU holds pregame moment of silence

Updated: March 6, 2011, 7:38 PM ET news services

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Middle Tennessee's players sat on the bench, heads down and arms locked during a pregame moment of silence at the Sun Belt tournament on Sunday.

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AP Photo/Danny JohnstonMiddle Tennessee's players locked arms in a silent tribute Sunday to honor former teammate Tina Stewart, who was stabbed to death Wednesday.

The game was the first for the Blue Raiders since the stabbing death of teammate Tina Stewart on Wednesday. Memories of Stewart abounded before Middle Tennessee lost 77-61 to Arkansas State.

The Blue Raiders took the court for warm-ups in black T-shirts with "20gether" on the front and "Stewart" on the back of each. They also each wore purple hair ribbons because that was Stewart's favorite color.

Once the game started, the royal blue and white Middle Tennessee uniforms also carried a remembrance of Stewart as a black patch with her No. 20 on it.

The Blue Raiders (23-6) began the tournament after receiving a first-round bye for earning the No. 1 seed from the conference's East Division.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.