The Murray State Racers did it once again, overcoming a 14 point deficit to the Cougars for a 70-61 victory at the CFSB Center. The Racers ramped up the defense and causing 10 turnovers according to the stat sheet, it was more, that helped spring the Racers on a 18-7 run that gave them their first lead of the night. Isaiah Canaan led the way with 20 points and Mark Yelovich provided 18 points off the bench, playing a significant number of minutes as he continues to return from injury.It was another tale of two halves for the Murray State Racers, which can now be classified as a second half team. The Racers outscored the Cougars 47-27 in the second half, shooting an amazing 68% from the floor after the break. The game started off rough for the Racers who saw the visiting Cougars jump out to a 24-10 lead midway through the opening half. The lead would remain double digits for the rest of the half thanks to 57% shooting and 9 points from both Kris Davis and Yelovich. The Racers would shoot only 27% and not hit a single three, but only attempt five.
The second half the Racers, and their crowd came alive as using a 12-2 that was caused by the Racers creating turnovers and scoring in transition. The Racers would grab their first lead on a layup by Canaan, who rebounded his own missed triple to get the basket. The Racers would never relinquish the lead for the rest of the night.
The Racers came out flat once again, and it seemed that they just didn’t want it. Maybe this team needs to be down, I don’t know. But with back to back poor first halves, it’s starting to wear on their players. They were taking good shots, they just weren’t falling the players would say after the game. Racers head coach Steve Prohm said, ” We missed layup and layup and you can only mentally stay with your defensive effort for so long til you break because you are struggling.” This is true and the players acknowledged that. Ed Daniel said, ” They needed more ball pressure.” This we saw a lot of and when ball pressure was shown, the Racers got turnovers. Daniel finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
For the Cougars, it’s a tough loss for them. The second half they will want a redo, like most other teams that have played the Racers. The turned the ball over too much, 22 times and only forced the Racers into 11. They got in foul trouble and Coach Forrester said that it was hard to juggle who to play with the foul situations. The bright notes was Davis and Yelovich playing up to the abilities and according to the head coach Yelovich is close to being back in the starting lineup. Jerome Jones scored 14 pts for the Cougars but took 14 shots to get the points.
The Racers begin a road trip next week with visits to Tennessee Tech (7-11, 1-5) and Jacksonville State. (12-7, 4-4) The Cougars return home with matchups against a cold SEMO (11-10, 3-4) and UT Martin. (4-15, 1-6)