Poole arrives early to heat up Racers
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 10:15 pm
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
MURRAY (AP) — Donte Poole’s superstition involves getting on the court as early as he can and taking up to 200 shots to keep his mind clear before his Murray State teammates arrive.
He kept the 19th-ranked Racers’ record unblemished, too.
Poole scored 22 points and Isaiah Canaan added 16 — including the 1,000th of his career — and Murray State remained unbeaten with a 76-67 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday night.
“It’s maybe a superstition, but I like to get out there when no one is out here,” said Poole, who went 6-of-12 from the field. “I get in my rhythm and space everything out, really.”
So, far it’s been a sweet tune.
The Racers (15-0, 3-0 Ohio Valley Conference) are one win from matching the school’s all-time best start set in 1935-36. But to get there they had to hold off a furious rally by the Colonels.
Jaron Jones scored 23 points for Eastern Kentucky (9-7, 3-1).
“In the second half, we really turned up our defense and fought back,” Jones said.
The Colonels trailed by as many as 15 points, but came within one with just under five minutes to go before falling for the seventh straight time in the series.
“They always come back. We had it at 15 in the first half, and I thought it was big,” Murray State coach Steve Prohm said. “The difference tonight, we didn’t give them easy turnovers off their 1-3-1 (zone).”
The Racers played their first game without senior forward Ivan Aska, the team’s leading rebounder who is out indefinitely with a broken right hand. Ed Daniel scored 16 points and Stacy Wilson added 13 for the Racers.
Murray State started the day one of four remaining unbeaten teams in Division I men’s basketball with Syracuse, Baylor and Missouri. But the Racers got a close call against the Colonels after opening a 42-27 lead on Wilson’s 3-pointer with 1:52 left in the first half.
Eastern Kentucky’s Jeff Allgood hit a three and Racers guard Jewuan Long was called for a technical foul with just under nine minutes to play for arguing with officials. The Colonels made all four free throws to cut it to 54-50.
After Poole hit a free throw, Mike DiNunno missed a 3 that would have tied it, but hit a floater in the lane on the next possession to cut it to 55-54.
Daniel’s three-point play made it 58-54 at 4:25.
Murray State pushed the lead to six points, but Jones rallied the Colonels again, hitting a jumper and adding two free throws that cut it to 65-62 with 1:29 to play.
Poole hit two free throws that made it 67-62 and Jones, the reigning OVC player of the year, was called for charging with 1:05 left as the Colonels could never get closer despite 16 points from D’Mitri Riggs.
“A couple of turnovers, that’s what really sticks out to me at the end,” Jones said.
Published in The Messenger 1.5.12