Racers shoots the lights out against Beacons


Junior guard Quincy Anderson puts up a layup against Valparaiso. Anderson finished the game with 18 points against the Beacons. Photo by Rebeca Mertins Chiodini.

Jakob Milani, Sports Editor

It was all Murray State in the first round of the MVC Championship as the Racers defeated the Valparaiso Beacons 78-50.

The Racers made 10 3-pointers in a single game for the fourth time this season and forced 19 turnovers on their way to victory. Junior forward Jamari Smith led all scorers with 19 points, followed by junior guards Quincy Anderson with 18 points and Rob Perry with 15 points.

Senior forward Ben Krikke, who was voted to the All MVC First Team on Wednesday, March 1, was held to just 14 points against the Racers, despite averaging 28 points in his two games against them in the regular season.

“He’s just a big presence,” sophomore guard JaCobi Wood said.  “ He’s one of the best big men we have in this league. We just tried to send a lot of different bodies at him and keep the ball out of his hands and keep him uncomfortable.”

Early in the game, the Beacons hung around with the Racers, closing the Racers’ lead to 5 points with a pair of free throws from Krikke, making it 17-12 Racers with 11:19 left in the first half. 

Despite shrinking the deficit, the Racers went on a 7-0 run with a 3 from Anderson and pull-up jumpers from sophomore forward Kenny White Jr. and Anderson.

After another 3 points from Wood, the Racers went up 29-14 with 8:15 left in the first half.

As the half started to wind down, the Beacons went on a 6-0 run to shrink the Racers’ lead to 8 points. 

The final four minutes of the first half have been a killer for the Racers this season, something Head Coach Steve Prohm spoke about after the game.

“We didn’t flinch on that run,” Prohm said. “We kept at it. We finished the half. …An Achilles’ heel for us this season [has been] the last four minutes of the first half. We ended it 4-0.”

Even with the momentum of a run on the Beacons’ side, Anderson still buried a 3-pointer to put the Racers back up by double-digits. At halftime, the Racers led the Beacons 38-25.

Anderson had two 3-pointers and 8 points in the first half. He went on to finish the game with a team-high four 3-pointers.

Anderson gave more credit to the team’s overall success rather than his own performance.

“We just understood the moment and understood what we came here to do,” Anderson said. “Coach Prohm did a good job of gameplanning for Valpo. It’s hard to beat a team three times.”

Krikke and fifth-year guard Kobe King scored first in the second half for the Beacons, with each getting a layup to fall. But it was all for naught, as the Racers followed that up with a 10-0 run, thanks to a 3 from Wood, layups from junior forward DJ Burns and an and-one from Smith.

After a pair of free throws from Krikke, Perry put the Racers up 20 with a 3-pointer of his own. Then, with another 8-0 run from the Racers, thanks to 3-pointers from Smith and Anderson, the Racers were up 26 with 10:48 left to play.

From there, it was all Murray State, extending the lead up to 29 on a 9-0 run with 3:21 left.

When the final buzzer sounded, Murray State stood victorious over the Beacons, winning 78-50.

While Smith and Anderson led the way, Wood still finished with 13 points and a pair of 3-pointers himself. Burns finished with 8 points and eight rebounds in the game. The Racers assisted on 24 of their 29 baskets from the field, with 11 of those assists coming from Wood.

Wood spoke about the team’s passing in the game, saying they played as one in the game.

“Today, we just played together,” Wood said. “We played together as a team. Twenty-four assists and six turnovers. That’s a great stat as a team. So really good effort for us out there.”

Prohm also discussed the individual performances of his team. 

“Your best players gotta play their best in these environments in order to advance, and our best players did that tonight,” Prohm said.

Murray State’s record improves to 17-14 on the season. The Racers move on to play the second-seeded Drake Bulldogs on Friday, March 3. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.