Men’s basketball starts with a loss


Junior guard Rob Perry tries to put up a tough layup against St. Louis on Monday, Nov. 7. Photo courtesy of David Eaton/Racer Athletics.

Jakob Milani, Sports Editor

With a bunch of new faces, a new head coach, and a new conference, the Murray State men’s basketball season has officially started.

Only two players returned to the team from last year, and Head Coach Steve Prohm returned to Murray State for the first time in several years. With 12 new players now hitting the floor for the Racers, the team has taken on a new identity.

The Racers went to Saint Louis University to take on the Billikens in the first official game of the 2022-23 season. Despite keeping the game close in the first half,the Racers lost to the Billikens 91-68.

Prohm spoke after the game about the result and how he felt the first game of the season went. 

“We needed to be humbled,” Prohm said. ”Now we’ve been humbled. We had some good basketball out there, but we have to understand that there’s a process to this right now. There’s going to be some growing pains along the way, and that’s part of it.”

Despite losing the starting jump ball, the Racers were first on the board as junior forward Jamari Smith hit a 3-pointer to start. The lead was extended with layups from junior guard Rob Perry and sophomore forward Kenny White Jr. to put the Racers up 9-2.

The Billikens came back and tied the game at 9 points each after a pair of layups from senior guard Javon Pickett and a 3-pointer from senior guard Jovonte Perkins.

St. Louis’ lead extended with 9 straight points, including a 3-pointer from junior guard Fred Thatch Jr. A layup from junior forward DJ Burns ended the Billikens’ run, but the damage put them up 21-15.

The teams went back and forth throughout the rest of the first half, which made it difficult for the Racers to take the lead back from the Billikens.

A 3-pointer from Perkins had the Billikens up 11, but a few buckets and a 3-pointer from Smith had the Racers back within 6 points.

But the Racers’ defense couldn’t hold on and allowed a nine-point run from the Billikens to end the first half that included another 3 -pointer from Perkins. At halftime, the Billikens led the Racers 44-29.

Perkins led all scorers at half with 12 points, while Smith followed close behind with 9 points, while also grabbing four rebounds.

Smith talked about his role in leading the team after the game. He said the process of leading starts off the court.

“Scoring points is cool, but when you’ve got new guys, it’s not about that,” Smith said. “It starts with understanding how to win. We’re a team that’s gonna be a process and learn from this loss. We’ve gotta just trust Coach Prohm more. We’ll be better.”

Sophomore guard Gibson Jimerson got the second half started with a 3-pointer to put the Billikens up by 18 points. 

Later on in the half, the Racers were climbing back with a 3-pointer from Perry. This helped the Racers bring the Billikens’ lead to 11 points with three free throws from sophomore guard Brian Moore Jr. and a 3-pointer from Smith.

That was the closest the Racers got to tying the game, though, as Perkins and Jimerson put on an 8-0 run late in the game to put the Billikens’ lead back up to 19 points.

With a last round of points coming in from the Billikens, the lead was at 23 points once the final buzzer went off. The Billikens had defeated the Racers 91-68.

Perkins led all players with 21 points in the game. Jimerson followed with 20 points. Pickett led the game with 13 rebounds.

Smith had 19 points —the most for the Racers. Perry had the next-most points with 14. Perry and Moore led the Racers in assists with just two apiece. 

Smith said they knew how good their opponent would be, but they just weren’t able to do what they planned to do.

“The caliber team we played tonight is how it’s gonna be every game this year,” Smith said. “We’ll learn from this like all good teams do. I think we will bounce back from this.”

Prohm said despite a few flashes of good play from the team, it takes more than that to win a game.

“You can’t play good for 15 minutes and expect to win,” Prohm said. “We had a really good start, got the score back to within 11, but then it was allowing transition-3s and missed opportunities. We weren’t good enough tonight. We got exposed.”

Murray State officially starts the season 0-1. The Racers return to the CFSB Center on Saturday, Nov. 12, for their first home game of the season where they host the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.


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