OVC Ball Statbox
|15-12 (9-5 OVC)|
|12-17 (5-9 OVC)|
|25/53 (47.2%)||Field Goals||22/44 (50.0%)|
|10/24 (41.7%)||3-Point FG||6/13 (46.2%)|
|14/17 (82.4%)||Free Throws||10/24 (41.7%)|
|36 (10/26)||Rebounds (O/D)||25 (6/19)|
|14||2nd Chance Pts||3|
|20||Points off TO||0|
|22||Pts in the Paint||30|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
Murray State offense
Austin Peay offense
What happened: In a game low on possessions, you have to make each trip down the floor count. Austin Peay…didn’t. The Governors were outrebounded by 11, shoot 10-24 (41.7%) from the free-throw line, as they fall to the Racers on their home floor.
Austin Peay jumped out to an 8-0 lead, and held a narrow lead throughout much of the first half, before the Racers would tie things up heading into the locker room. Murray took control in the final ten minutes, led by a pair of three’s by Jeffery Moss, and following that up with an 8-0 run to take a 13-point lead in the final two minutes.
Perhaps the oddest play came during that rally. Austin Peay’s Josh Robinson and Chris Horton went after a rebound after a Murray State miss — but Horton accidentally knocked the ball out of Robinson’s hand, and into the bucket for the Racers.
Moss hit five-seven from three-point range, on his way to a game-high 22 points. Damarcus Croaker finished with an impressive double-double: 14 points and 12 rebounds for the guard.
Horton, the OVC’s leading rebounder, was limited to just six boards by the best defensive rebounding team in the league. He finished with 16, Robinson had a team-high 17 for the Governors.
But if they lose at Eastern Illinois, they need UT Martin to lose out to win the West.
Right now, UTM is 7-2 against the West, and Murray State is 6-2. UTM’s next game is against Tennessee State, a non-division opponent. This matters because, for division leaders, the first tiebreaker after head-to-head record is the team’s record against the division. So, this leaves two scenarios: one where EIU beats EIU, and one where they lose to EIU.
- Scenario 1: Murray State beats EIU. If UTM wins the finale, either UTM finishes a game above Murray (11-5 to 10-6), or, if TSU beats UTM, both finish at 10-6. UT Martin would hold the tiebreaker due to a 2-0 sweep of the Racers. If Murray wins, they would win the division outright.
- Scenario 2: Murray State loses to EIU, UTM beats TSU. Murray State would fall to 6-3 against the West, and would enter the finale one game behind UTM. A win over the Skyhawks would force a 10-6 tie atop the league, and both would have identical 7-3 records against the West. The tiebreaker now moves to record against the three-seed, four-seed, etc. in the division. Both would have a split to EIU in this scenario, but UT Martin swept Austin Peay, who Murray State split with. UT Martin would hold the tiebreaker. This scenario is unwinnable for the Racers, regardless of the result of the finale against the Skyhawks. But if UTM loses to TSU, then the Racers would finish a game above the Skyhawks.
So, short version: Murray needs to beat EIU to set up a winner-take-all matchup against UT Martin.
Player of the Night: Moss, the senior, had a big night in an important game, but Croaker’s double-double was one of his best performances of the season.
What’s next: A very, very important trip to Charleston to face Eastern Illinois.
- Win out (at SIUE, vs SEMO) and hope EKU loses at least one of their two remaining games. (At JSU, at TTU)
- Win one, hope EKU loses out.
That’s it. It’s that simple. In that second scenario, it’s possible JSU could get involved, but Austin Peay’s win over JSU would put them second in that three-way tie, with the Gamecocks being odd-man out.
Player of the Night: Robinson’s 17 point performance gives him top billing
What’s next: A virtual must-win at SIUE.