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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Racers 25-game home winning streak snapped by Morehead State

Justice Hill plays defense against Morehead State. (Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics/Dave Winder)

Gage Johnson


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Murray State men’s basketball continued its early season struggles against Morehead State as its 25-home game winning streak was snapped thanks to a poor offensive showing by the Racers.

Falling to the Eagles 61-56, the loss puts Murray State on a three-game losing streak and knocks them below .500 with a 4-5 record.

Morehead State put its foot on the gas from the tip and never let off, getting out to a fiery offensive performance in the first 10 minutes of the game.

The Eagles were shooting an impressive 8-10 from the field by the 11:37 mark, allowing them to gain a 20-10 lead.

Murray State hung around with efficient shooting from beyond the arc with a 4-7 clip, but they couldn’t muster enough offense to battle for a lead with an Eagles offense that looked like it was throwing a rock in an ocean.

“They came out with great energy, really competed and played every possession like the OVC Championship was on the line,” said Head Coach Matt McMahon. “I was really impressed with the urgency with which they played.”

Morehead State’s intensity on the offensive end allowed them to carry an 11-15 start from the field and an 18-0 advantage in points in the paint to a 29-16 with 6:34 left in the first half.

The Eagles continued to carry all the momentum despite a 6-0 run fueled by junior guard Tevin Brown that made it a 34-24 game. They eventually went into the locker room 36-29 lead, in large due to their efforts on the boards.

The Racers were outrebounded 21-13 in the half and gave up eight offensive rebounds that led to eight second chance points.

McMahon said rebounding comes down to pursuit and effort and the Eagles wanted it more on this given night.

“Well in the second half they finally got going on the glass, I think they ended up with 18 rebounds between them,” McMahon said. “Rebounding to me is just an effort. We can talk technique all we want. You know when that shot goes up it’s addressed to whom it may concern and you gotta go get the ball. Credit to Morehead State. They chased rebounds at every position and they made those plays in the first half.”

After a technical foul was issued to McMahon 30 seconds into the second half, the Racers began to piece things together.

Despite battling foul trouble and struggling from the charity stripe themselves, Murray State took a 7-0 run to knot things up at 56 with two minutes to play.

A shooting foul by sophomore guard Justice Hill allowed junior guard Devon Cooper to sink two free throws and give Morehead State a 58-56 lead with 59.7 seconds left to play.

The Racers were unable to score on the ensuing possession, but a monstrous block from sophomore forward Demond Robinson had Morehead State inbounding the ball under the basket with 16.8 seconds to play and three seconds to go on the shot clock.

A stop would’ve given Murray State a chance to knot things up and force overtime, but Morehead Head Coach Preston Spradlin and the Eagles had a great inbounds play drawn up and executed it to perfection.

“It was a great design by coach Spradlin,” McMahon said. “We were trailing, we did not check the back screen. Guarding the inbounder, we left the basket and went and tried to pressure the inbounder. It left the backside wide open and just a breakdown on our end in what was obviously a very critical moment and they executed much better than we did.”

The late bucket gave the Eagles all they needed, as they headed back home with a 61-56 win. The loss extended the Racers’ losing streak to three games and marked Murray State’s first home loss this season.

Turnovers continued to be an issue for Murray State once again, as the Racers’ 16 turnovers led to 19 points for Morehead State.

McMahon was clearly frustrated with his team’s execution in the postgame press conference, noting that a lot of the turnovers were unforced.

“If I had an explanation I’d fix it,” McMahon said. “I see us throw the ball off the scorers table, dribble off our foot, throw passes that aren’t openyou know, there were just a couple of brutal illegal screen calls that count as turnovers. But all in all, when you’re struggling to score, you can’t afford to give the ball to the other team.”

The Racers now sit at 4-5 overall with a 1-3 record in OVC play. Murray State finds itself in a tough spot, underperforming to the pre-season expectations from polls and fans alike, but McMahon knows the Racers have time to grow and finish the season strong.

“[I’m] very disappointed with where we’re at, but I also know we have 80 percent of our schedule left to play,” McMahon said. “So we’ve gotta get back to work. We can lay down and roll over and call it a year if we want, or we can get back to work. I’m going to get back to work and I know our coaching staff will do the same and look forward to seeing if we can build a better team, a more connected team, that has an opportunity to win games.”

The Racers will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 7, against EIU for the start of a four-game road trip at 7:30 p.m. in Charleston, Illinois.

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