Racer men winning in record numbers
Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
A record gathering witnessed a record-setting performance.
Murray State is quickly running out of new records to set, putting two more in the books on Saturday in an 82-74 win over Tennessee Tech.
With a new CFSB Center record crowd of 8,691 looking on and more watching on ESPNU, the Racers established a new mark for consecutive wins in a season with their 18th straight.
“This is a great win,” MSU head coach Steve Prohm said. “I was proud of our fans for showing their support for this team. We’re glad to be 18-0, mainly because it means we’re 6-0 in the conference. It’s great, but we really don’t talk about it. Coming in, we talked about winning a conference game and winning at home.”
Already owning its highest Associated Press ranking in school history at No. 15 going into the game, Murray State made more history when the Assoociated Press poll came out on Monday afternoon with a No. 12 ranking.
“It’s great for the conference,” Tech head coach Steve Payne said about the Racers’ start. “The only way it could be better is if Tennessee Tech was 18-0. Steve does a great job, and they have great players. I’m glad we have a team getting that kind of recognition.
“I don’t like people saying they have the best chance at an undefeated season simply because they play in the OVC. They have some tough games coming up. This is a good league with good coaches and players.”
Prohm, in his first season as a head coach, agreed.
“People talk about the OVC, but we have some good teams in this league,” Prohm said. “Look at some of the teams our teams have beaten.”
In posting another win, the Racers sprinted out to a fast start and then fought off the Golden Eagles the rest of the afternoon, finally putting away Tech in the closing minutes.
While Donte Poole led three Racer players in double figures with a career-high 28 points, followed by Isaiah Canaan with 24 and Jackson native Jewuan Long with 11, it was not pretty at times for Murray State.
The Racers missed 38 field goals (23-of-61), including 16 3-pointers (9-of-25), and also misfired 13 times (27-of-40) at the free throw line while being outrebounded 47-39 and outscored in the paint 34-26.
But, playing smaller with Ivan Aska out with a broken hand and both Ed Daniel and Latreze Mushatt benched due to fouls after combining for just three points, the Racers relied on quickness and transition. MSU bettered Tech, 29-9, in points off turnovers.
Murray State jumped out to a 26-9 lead just under 10 minutes into the game as Canaan hit three times and Poole twice from beyond the 3-point circle.
Tech fought right back, though, outscoring the Racers 27-13 the rest of the way to get within 39-36 at the half. Jud Dillard had 12 points in the quarter, leading the Eagles’ comeback.
Five of the game’s seven ties came in the second half, the last 58-all.
It then stayed mostly a one-possession game until 3:34 when Long hit a 3-pointer for a 70-65 MSU lead. Poole then converted a 3-point play 58 seconds later, and the Racers closed strong at the free throw line by hitting 10 of their last 11.
to widen the gap by as many as 10 in the final seconds.
Dillard finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Kevin Murphy also had 19 points, Zach Bailey pitched in 14 points and Zac Swansey added 10 points for Tech, which fell to 11-7 and 3-2. Published in The WCP 1.17.12