Scores

Final

(14) Murray State 80

(27-1, 14-1 OVC)

Tennessee St 62

(19-11, 11-5 OVC)

    Coverage: ESPNU/WatchESPN

    8:00 PM ET, February 23, 2012

    Gentry Center, Nashville, Tennessee

    1 2 T
    #14MURR 45 3580
    TNST 28 3462

    Top Performers

    Murray St: I. Canaan 24 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Tennessee St: R. Covington 24 Pts, 15 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Isaiah Canaan, Murray State avenge lone loss of the season

    Associated Press

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This time, Murray State got the lead against Tennessee State and never let the Tigers think of a comeback.

    Call it revenge for Murray State's lone loss this season. The Racers prefer to call it a great road win and postseason tuneup.

    Isaiah Canaan scored 16 of his 24 points in the first half, and Murray State (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) routed Tennessee State 80-62 on Thursday night.

    "We just wanted to come out and get a great win on the road," Canaan said. "If a lot of other people look at it as a statement game, we're fine with that. We're just focusing on coming in and trying to get a great road win against a great team."

    The Racers (27-1, 14-1 Ohio Valley Conference) blew a 13-point lead in losing 72-68 on Feb. 9. They used a 14-0 run over the final 2:31 of the first half Thursday with four Racers each hitting a 3-pointer to blow open a tight game.

    "We just wanted to come out and kind of make a little push to take us into halftime," Murray State guard Donte Poole said. "It just so happened we made a couple 3s that gave us a little momentum going into the half."

    Murray State shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half and finished by matching its season-high with 12 3-pointers. Poole added 16 points and Zay Jackson had 11.

    "To shoot 12 for 22 and Latreze (Mushatt) made some timely 3s," Murray State coach Steve Prohm said. "He doesn't shoot a ton of them, but he hit some timely 3s, some rhythm 3s. And Isaiah and Donte, they were terrific tonight."

    Tennessee State (19-11, 11-5) had a nine-game winning streak snapped and missed its chance to sweep Murray State for the first time since 1993, when the Tigers reached the NCAA tournament. This also marked the Tigers' final game of the regular season, and they won't play again until the OVC tournament semifinals on March 2 as the league's No. 2 seed.

    Tigers coach John Cooper credited Murray State with beating his team.

    "They were faster than us in transition tonight. They seemed to have more energy," Cooper said. "We had breakdowns in transition and of course the last 3-minute stretch of the first half ... you sort of let the cow out of the barn."

    Robert Covington led the Tigers with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Kellen Thornton had 17 points.

    Murray State, which had already clinched its 23rd regular season OVC title, has gotten used to lots of attention during an unprecedented season even by Racers' standards.

    "We're getting pretty used to coming into a gym, it being sold out and everybody going against us," Canaan said.

    The Tigers had problems dealing with the nationally televised game with a standing-room only crowd of 10,125. The last time the Tigers had an event this big on campus that didn't involve graduation was back in 1980 when Stevie Wonder played the Gentry Center.

    They outrebounded Murray State 36-24 and had a 36-20 edge in the paint.

    But they couldn't match Murray State's shooting beyond the arc or inside. The Racers shot 56.5 percent (26 of 46) compared to 46.4 percent (23 of 57) for Tennessee State.

    Whether nerves or too much adrenaline, Tennessee State struggled shooting air balls and committing turnovers. Jordan Cyphers had one of their worst turnovers of the game, overthrowing a teammate so badly the ball went well over the sideline media table. They also missed all seven 3-point attempts in the first half and didn't hit from beyond the arc until Covington's 3 with 17:45 left in the second half.

    "It was pretty bad," Covington said. "We kind of fell apart, and that's not what we're used to doing."

    Cooper noted Covington seemed crushed by missing his first free throw even though the junior isn't a 100 percent shooter.

    "I don't know if it was the environment and the hoopla and everything else. I always try to tell our guys ... you have to control your emotions," Cooper said.

    The Tigers stayed close early with two ties and six lead changes. Murray State took the lead for good at 18-17 midway through the first half on Mushatt's layup. Tennessee State got within three points twice, the last on Covington's rebound of Chris Conner's missed 3 for a layup that made it 31-28 with 2:46 left.

    That's when the Racers started scoring.

    Mushatt hit a 3 from the corner, Canaan added a 3. Jackson scored on a layup, then pulled up for a 3 on the next trip down the court. Covington, the Tigers' leading scorer, shot an airball. The Racers got the rebound, and Poole hit the eighth 3 of the half just before the buzzer prompting Mushatt to stand for a couple of seconds looking up at the fans.

    Murray State opened the lead with a 12-2 run that ended with Mushatt's 3 that made it 58-38 with 13:21 left.

    "It just happened that way we were knocking them down tonight," Poole said of scoring 3s in transition.

    Even when the Racers had four players with at least three fouls each, Tennessee State couldn't get closer than 12 points on a 3 by Kenny Moore with 3:54 remaining. Poole answered with another 3, and Canaan hit Murray State's 12th 3 with 2:42 to go, matching the Racers' season-high set Dec. 30 at Eastern Illinois. After Ed Daniel got a loose ball and went in alone for a dunk with 1:23 left for a 78-60 lead, fans started heading toward the exits.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MURR
    TNST
    Points 80 62
    FG Made-Attempted 26-46 (.565) 23-57 (.404)
    3P Made-Attempted 12-22 (.545) 2-15 (.133)
    FT Made-Attempted 16-19 (.842) 14-23 (.609)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 20 1

    2011-12 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Feb 9, 2012 TNST 72, @MURR 68Recap
    » Feb 23, 2012 MURR 80, @TNST 62Recap
    Mar 3, 2012 @MURR 54, TNST 52Recap