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OVC Ball Statbox

1st 2nd Final
Murray State 42 39 81
6-4 (0-0 OVC)
Evanville 38 41 79
7-2 (0-0 MVC)

Team Statistics

MURR EVAN
27/54 (50.0%) Field Goals 27/55 (49.1%)
11/19 (57.9%) 3-Point FG 4/14 (28.6%)
16/23 (69.6%) Free Throws 21/27 (77.8%)
26 (10/16) Rebounds (O/D) 37 (15/22)
2nd Chance Pts
26 Assists 15
15 Turnovers 19
Points off TO
Pts in the Paint
Fastbreak Pts
Bench Pts

Tempo Tracker (Possessions)

Four Factors

Learn more in our tempo-free stats primer

Murray State offense

Evanville offense

 Top Performers

MURR EVAN
Points: Payne (32) Balentine (31)
Rebounds: Fairell (9) Mockevicius (14)
Assists: Payne (8) Three Tied With 3
Steals: Fairell (4) Balentine, Brzoja (2)

If you’re solely looking for areas in which Murray State has grown as a team since Nashville, you don’t have to look very far. The guards are taking smarter three’s, evidenced by 11-19 shooting from outside the arc; Cameron Payne continues to show why he’s an elite guard, tonight racking up a career-high 32 points.

Of course, what everyone is going to remember from this game is the shot.

With :02.6 seconds remaining, Evansville inbounded under Murray State’s basket in a tie-game. The long pass into the frontcourt goes out of bounds without anyone touching it, giving the Racers the ball under their own basket. After a timeout, Murray State ran the play they drew up.

It wasn’t to Payne or Jeffery Moss. T.J. Sapp and Jarvis Williams were on the bench, having already fouled out.

Moss inbounded to an open Jonathan Fairell, who hit the layup with :01.1 seconds remaining. Evansville’s last ditch effort ended with a half-court throw intercepted by Payne, allowing Murray State to beat a top-100 RPI ranked team in their home gym.

It took Murray State head coach Steve Prohm 28 seconds into his post-game press conference to say the words I knew would be coming.

“There’s a lot of things we’ve still got to get better at.”

What shouldn’t scare the rest of the OVC isn’t that Murray, seemingly left for dead after a dreadful Thanksgiving weekend in Nashville, beat a very good Evansville team on the road. It’s not that they’re improving, and apparently doing so quickly in some key areas. It’s not even that Payne and Sapp combined for 7-12 shooting outside the arc, or that Justin Seymour was perfect from the field, playing 23 minutes, or even that until foul trouble set in, Moss held Evansville’s leading scorer, and all-MVC lock D.J. Balentine to two points in the first 16:29 of the first half.

What should scare the conference is that almost immediately after a breathtaking, emotional win: Murray State is looking for more.

It’s not just Prohm either. Even Mr. Game-winner himself didn’t take long to say it:

“It was a great win. But we have to get back in the gym and get better.”

The Racers have won four in a row; The last two, over regional rivals in Western Kentucky and here in Evansville. Against those two rivals, Murray State is a combined 61-114 (53.5%) from the floor, 22-39 (56.4%) from three-point range, and are plus-7 in turnovers against two teams with two of the best players (T.J. Price and Balentine, respectively) in their respective conferences. They’re averaging 87 points in those games, against high-level mid-major programs.

There are a lot of teams, and a lot of players, who would be satisfied right now.

And then there’s Murray.

“It’s a good win for us,” Prohm said, still less than a minute into the same press conference. “But it’s just that. It’s one win. We’re not really worried about our record. We’ve just got to get better.”

Murray’s quest to get better doesn’t mean the Racers aren’t enjoying the process. The door to the locker room came open as we waited for the coach to emerge just long enough to hear the celebration. There wasn’t a single player that didn’t walk out of the Evansville locker room with a big smile on their face.

Even Prohm himself smiled a few times during the press conference, especially when talking about his team’s inside-outside game.

Of course, a lot of teams say these kind of things. Coaches often seem ready following a big win or loss to look forward to the next game.

It’s their “On to Cincinnati,” moment, 27 times a year.

But perhaps it’s how emotionally invested this team is on the court that separates them from many others. Moments of unchecked emotion — from Williams discussing fouls to refs, to Sapp beating himself up for missing an open three after a great setup from Fairell, even the double-technical after some jawing from Seymour to Balentine.

Sure, these are the moments that drive coaches crazy.

But, in a way, it’s also the moments that show just how much this means to this squad. To many teams, this would have been “just another game.” Sure, Evansville is on the schedule year-in and year-out, but most people don’t consider them a true “rival,” at least, not on the level of Austin Peay or WKU.

But this squad doesn’t see it that way. I don’t have to ask them to know it — I can see it on their faces, play after play.

That, to me, is what makes this so genuine. This isn’t a team saying the right things because that’s what they’re trained to say.

They’re saying it because that’s what they believe.

What should scare the conference is that almost immediately after a breathtaking, emotional win: Murray State is looking for more.

Clearly, the offense is running better than ever, and for Murray State to take the next step, it’s going to come from the defense and the bench. Evansville hit 49% from the field tonight, WKU 53% the Saturday before. If Murray doesn’t hit shots in both contests, Murray is 4-6, not 6-4. They were beat on the boards tonight, and while they forced 19 turnovers, 15 is still a bit higher than they’d like.

And then there are the fouls. Prohm called it a “blessing” the game ended in regulation, because not only had Sapp and Williams already fouled out, but Moss and Seymour had four fouls.

Perhaps it’s how emotionally invested this team is on the court that separates them from many others

But they already know these things.

And they’re committed to fixing them.

One week from today, the Racers get their next big test. Alcorn State is a 300+ ranked RPI team right now, and they come to the CFSB Center midweek. But Illinois State next Saturday is 104th, with narrow losses at Utah State and against VCU on their record.

It’s the last real test Murray faces until the second, and most important, season begins.


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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11


2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall

EAST

Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19

WEST

UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24


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