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It’s rare that the Racers face a 7’1″ player.

After tonight, I doubt they’ll want to see one again for awhile.

John Reik, the Crusaders seven footer from Sudan, put up 15 points on 6-6 shooting, and pulled down 7 rebounds in the first half alone, before getting himself into foul trouble in the last minutes of the half.

But doing what the Racers have done best, Murray State forced 26 turnovers on their way to a 83-41 win, to stay a perfect 3-0 on the season.

Tennessee Temple went to Reik early and often in the first, as the big man scored the first 6 points for the Crusaders. That also put pressure on the Racers defense, which resulted in 2 fouls in the first 3 and half minutes for Ivan Aska, who sat the rest of the half.

“The one thing, we couldn’t disrupt him early,” Racers coach Steve Prohm said of Reik. “I didn’t think doubling would help…I thought the only way to really counter was to make them lob it.”

The Racers got things going offensively in a hurry, but had a hard time penetrating the Crusaders 2-3 zone, a defense the Racers have yet to face this season, and couldn’t get any second chances.

Tennessee Temple center John Reik

Just over 9 minutes into the game, the Racers held just a 17-15 lead. Reik’s 3 rebounds were more than the entire Racers team, who only had only pulled down 2 boards in the early going.

“Reik, people don’t realize, he played at Mississippi State,” coach Prohm told us after the game, “if you go Google his name, he was one of the top 10 players in his class.”

But Murray State would get the turn up the pressure, and in turn the scoring, as the half continued. The Racers forced 12 turnovers in the last 11 minutes, and finally starting pulling in rebounds, as the Racers methodically pushed the lead to 22 at the half.

Murray State seemed to solve the Crusaders zone in the second half, hitting 54 % from the field, and 46% from 3-point range, allowing the Racers to comfortably pull away.

Isaiah Canaan led the Racers with 16 points on just 5 of 11 shooting. Donte Poole also pitched in 15 in the win. In fact, 5 players scored in the double digits for the Racers.

Reik finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Crusaders, the only player in double figures.

The Racers would be out rebounded for the game by one, 32-31. But Murray State’s 26.7 per game forced turnover average on the year will remain one of the nation’s best.

Unlike the game at Morgan State, the Racers went deep into the bench again, with 10 players seeing 10+ minutes, and 12 players seeing action.

“We did a better job from beginning to end up in Baltimore,” Prohm told us. “I wanted to make sure our guys were totally locked in and focus and prepared, so they were ready to have a good performance leading into, obviously a big 5-game road trip starting Sunday.

That road trip starts with a big challenge, facing UAB in Birmingham Sunday.


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OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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