No seed was at stake, but SEMO and Murray State are heading in much different direction with the OVC Tournament on the horizon. Southeast Missouri swept their Austin Peay / Murray State road swing for the first time ever. Murray State has lost two at home heading into next week’s tournament as the two-seed.
|FG (%)||26-52 (50.0%)||23-64 (35.9%)|
|3FG (%)||12-19 (63.2%)||10-24 (41.7%)|
|FT (%)||20-21 (95.2%)||12-20 (60.0%)|
|REB (O/D)||39 (10/29)||33 (17/16)|
Points: AJ Jones – 20
Assists: Lucas Nutt – 9
Rebounds: Tyler Stone – 7
Points: Isaiah Canaan – 22
Assists: Isaiah Canaan – 3
Rebounds: Ed Daniel – 11
The Redhawks followed up their OVC record breaking performance with an impressive 84-68 win on the road against Murray State. After dropping 20 three’s on Thursday, the Redhawks drop nine of their 12 arc bombs to gain huge momentum for the conference tournament.
The scoring kicked off with teams swapping back and forth in the opening minutes but a 14-4 done primarily by A.J. Jones gave the Redhawks the early advantage at 18-9. Following the run, the teams would trade three after three until the Racers went on a 9-0 midway through first half to retake at 33-32, which would prove to be their last. From there the Redhawks would end the half on a 15-6 run giving them the 47-39 lead after a Nick Niemczyk three to end the scoring.
The Racers put up possibly one of their best first halves as a team trailing this season shooting 45% from the field but “we weren’t guarding,” head coach Steve Prohm would say. “When you allow a team to shot 50% for the game, 63% from the 3 point line, you aren’t guarding.”
The second half saw the Racers do what they normally would do, attempt to claw their way back into the game, however a 10-0 run in just about five minutes proved too daunting to overcome as the Racers struggled to find a basket. With the Racers down 62-49, the offense would start to click as they would respond with a 10-2 to get within five but that’s as close as the Redhawks would allow the Racers to get as they closed out the game on a 20-9 run that saw the majority of their scorers playing with major foul trouble but survive.
For the Redhawks it was five players breaking the double digits as Jones led the team with 20pts just like he did against the Racers in January. Along with Jones it was Corey Wilford with 16pts on 5-9 shooting from the arc and point guard Lucas Nutt dished out 9 dimes in the win. This win continues the momentum of the Redhawks who will have to win 4 games in 4 days to win the conference championship. They have won 5 of their last 7 games and have seen the guard play improve consistently as the season has gone along.
When talking about the improvement of this team for the entire season Coach Nutt spoke of how he himself had changed philosophies. “We were trying to go inside oriented by getting the ball inside, so we finally dumped that and started going with the four guards and take our percentages and that would loosen up our inside game.”
For the Racers everything that could have gone wrong did on senior night for the winning class in Murray State’s long tradition. It started with All-American Isaiah Canaan giving up his starting spot a walk-on who had never scored and after tonight still hasn’t. Canaan was only 23 points from becoming the sixth member of the 2,000 point club, has scored a game high 22. But most importantly was they lost again, at home, on senior night. “I hate it for our six seniors,” Coach Prohm said. “The season is not over by any stretch but for their last home game to end like this.” Fellow senior Ed Daniel posted his 15th double double of the year scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
The Racers are limping into the tournament, losers of four of their last six and one thing has been common and that’s first halves. They have struggled out of the gates but Prohm said, “Just like last year, we need to win two games and we will be prepared for as possibly can be.” The Racers have fallen to the 3 (EKU), the 6(SEMO), 7(EIU), 8(UTM) seeds as well as non-participants SIUE and Jacksonville State. For the Racers they will take on a team in their game in Nashville they have fallen to and you have to wonder if they can just simply flip the switch and battle when they need too.
What’s Being Said
SEMO head coach Dicky Nutt shakes Canaan’s hand when he subbed out. That’s class.
— Kyle Rogers (@kyledrogers) March 3, 2013
Not good history:
. The last time Murray State ended the regular season with back-to-back losses was 1976-77 under Fred Overton (lost last 3 before tourney). — Neal Bradley (@NealBradley) March 3, 2013
The last time Murray State lost on Senior Night — 2002. Racers finished 10-6 in OVC, then won OVC Tournament and went on to NCAA’s.
— Jeff Bidwell (@AKAJeffBidwell) March 3, 2013