In front of the biggest crowd since 1987, the Cougars defense simply didn’t hold up to the No. 12/10 team in the country. Despite an amazing effort from Mark Yelovich, the Cougars tried to run with the Racers, and found out exactly how hard that is to do successfully.
The Cougars came out on fire in the early going, putting up 12 points before the first media timeout. But then the Racers scored 16 unanswered points, building a lead the Cougars simply didn’t have the plays on either side of the ball to overcome. It’s a disappointing loss for the Cougars, their 4th straight, and now the Cougars, who once looked like a pleasant surprise in a crowded OVC field, are fading towards the back.
“Our fans were great. They came out…it was important for our fans, and our players to experience that.”
-Head coach Lennox Forrester
Props to the Student Section: Murray State is bringing out fans at almost every OVC school they travel to, but not many are louder than SIU Edwardsville’s. They showed up early, they starting yelling an hour before tip, this is what you love about college basketball
Man to Man Defense was not a good idea: From a purely defensive standpoint, this game got away from the Cougars at tip. SIU Edwardsville opened the game with a man-to-man defense, and thought that Davis could guard Murray’s Isaish Cannan. What happened is that Davis sat with two early fouls, Canaan got great 3-point looks early, and the Racers built a quick double-digit lead. The Cougars switched to a 2-3 zone midway through the first half, which seemed to slow the Murray State offense, but by that point, they had already dug a deep hole.
Better Offense without the 3-ball? I’ve said before that the Cougars live and die by the 3-point shot. In the first half they only shot 3. Instead the Cougars attacked the rim, which worked well enough: SIUE shot 48% from the field against one of the best defenses in the OVC. Things were a little dicier in the second half, where turnovers and some forced shots hurt the Cougars offense.
A Double Double-Double: Yelovich got his 2nd double-double of the year, scoring 17 points, and 11 rebounds. Yelovich wasn’t the only double-double:Shaffer scored 12 points, and also had 11 rebounds for the Cougars.
“There’s a time it was a 10-point ball game…I thought we got some stops and never capitalized on the stops.”
-Head Coach Lennox Forrester
Sloppy Offense: 21 turnovers isn’t going to win many, if any games. Murray State has consistently been one of the best teams in the nation at takeaways, but you have to hold onto the basketball. Off of those 21 turnovers, the Racers scored 32 points. Off of the Racers 12 turnovers, SIU Edwardsville only scored 5.