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Wood’s buzzer beater gives Racers win over Evansville

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Jakob Milani
Junior forward Nick Ellington puts up a layup.

Excitement rang out at the CFSB Center as the Murray State basketball team made a shot at the buzzer to defeat the Evansville Purple Aces 73-70 on Saturday.

Junior guard JaCobi Wood had the ball in his hand with three seconds left and made a move against a Purple Aces defender, creating enough space to get a three-point shot off as time expired, and gave their Racers their 10th win of the season.

Wood finished with 12 points and five assists, shooting 5-9 from the field and 1-3 from three point range. The single three he made was the most important of the game.

“I’ve been feeling like my shot has been good recently, just shooting long, so I had to take some off of it,” Wood said after the game. “When I made that one, I just didn’t know what to do. I just looked for my family and immediately ran over to them.”

Evansville had been on a four-game winning streak heading into the matchup, proving to be an already tough opponent for the Racers. While Murray State had beaten the Purple Aces earlier in the season, Assistant Coach Jonathan Mattox said this was a different ball game from the previous matchup.

“This was a win that we really, really needed,” Mattox said after the game.. “Evansville is a really good team, winning the last four in a row. We told the team that this isn’t the same Evansville team we played last year or even earlier this year. They beat Bradley and Illinois State, so we knew what they were capable of. We needed exactly 40 minutes to beat them.”

Senior guard Rob Perry finished with 15 points, four assists and four rebounds. He spoke postgame about how important a win like this is moving forward after the struggles the Racers have faced in recent games.

“This win can do a lot,” Perry said. “It’s going to give us a huge boost heading into our next game. We know what we’re up for. This last stretch, we’re shooting for the four spot in the conference. We’re in the fight. We just gotta get one win at a time.”

Neither Wood nor Perry led the Racers in scoring, however, as senior guard Quincy Anderson scored 20 points on 7-14 shooting, and 5-9 shooting from three-point range. Junior forward Nick Ellington followed close behind with 19 points and six rebounds, recording a pair of dunks.

Murray State moves to 10-15 on the season and 7-7 in Missouri Valley Conference play with just around a month left in the regular season. 

The Racers host the Missouri State Bears on Wednesday, Feb. 14 where they look to win back-to-back games for the first time since early January. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributor
Jakob Milani, Sports Editor
Jakob Milani is all about sports. He joined the staff of The Murray State News in 2020 as a sports writer, assigned to women's basketball, and by fall 2021 was named Sports Editor. He is a dedicated lover of all things Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears related, and loves to talk about all things sports. He is a co-host of "The Iron Grid" podcast with fellow sports writer Ronan Summers, and only ever watches ESPN in his down time. Aside from sports, Jakob also has a passion for music and baking. His favorite artists include Nirvana, Travis Scott, and Queen. His favorite item to bake is cheesecake.

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