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The Murray State News

Ellington scores 23 in Racers’ win over Missouri State

Samantha VanHorn
The crowd celebrates JaCobi Wood’s buzzer beater three-point shot.

Four Racers finished in double-figures en route to Murray State’s second straight win at home as the Racers defeated the Missouri State Bears 82-72 Wednesday night..

Junior forward Nick Ellington led the way with 23 points on 10-13 shooting from the field and grabbed five rebounds. After the game, he said this is the type of basketball the team has to play in the last month of the season.

“Our goal is to be playing our best basketball in February,” Ellington said. “For us to be able to put 40 minutes together and close out those tight games really shows the growth and the work we’ve been putting into this. We’re playing at a high level and continue to do that over and over.”

The win marks the first time since Jan. 6, and Jan. 10 that the Racers have picked up back-to-back wins. After the game, Head Coach Steve Prohm said it feels great to be winning at home after struggling throughout January.

“There’s a lot of things you can look at, but you are what you are,” Prohm said. “But there’s a lot of good things to look at, and that’s where we are right now. We’re in fourth place and control our own destiny… I’m excited to see where we end up. We just can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

Murray State started the game up 16-0 with three pointers raining in from junior guard JaCobi Wood and senior guard Quincy Anderson. But the Bears closed that gap, and at halftime, led the Racers 37-35. Murray State was 0-9 in games where they were losing at halftime heading into Wednesday.

In the second half, the Racers nailed down the defensive end and managed to close out the game, picking up their first win after being down at halftime all season.

Ellington led the team in points, but Anderson followed with 16 points, with Wood scoring 12 points and senior guard Rob Perry scoring 10 points. Wood also recorded 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Junior forward Malek Abdelgowad recorded his second straight game with eight points, shooting 3-4 from the field and 2-3 from the free throw line, while playing just 10 minutes. He said after the game that his international play prepared him for the toughness of the Missouri Valley Conference.

“I come from FIBA which is completely different from the NCAA,” Abdelgowad said. “Down there, it’s straight physicality. Just grown man basketball. This is pretty physical, too.”

With tournament season slowly approaching, the Racers enter one of their toughest stretches of the season in the final month. Prohm said the team will be ready for the test ahead.

“We’ve gotta come here this weekend and really compete, and put ourselves in the best situation to win,” Prohm said. “I really like our team. I like the improvements we’ve made, and we’ve played well on the road. I like this challenge. We just gotta continue to get better one game at a time.”

Murray State moves to 11-15 overall, and 8-7 in conference play, sitting tied for fourth in the Valley. The Racers head to Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 18, where they will take on the Drake Bulldogs. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.


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About the Contributors
Jakob Milani
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.
Samantha VanHorn, Photographer

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