The Murray State Racers pushed their winning streak to four with an 87-75 victory against the Southeast Missouri Redhawks Thursday night at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
The Racers (17-5) have won back-to-back road games, moved to 9-2, and stayed in solo second place in the Ohio Valley Conference. MSU plays Saturday at UT Martin in a 6 p.m. tip.
The Racers had a pair of players with 20 points for third time this season when Jonathan Stark tallied 29 points on five 3-pointers and Ja Morant set his MSU career-high with 23 points and nine rebounds. Terrell Miller, Jr., scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half.
Trailing 24-11 with 10:08 left in the first half, the Racers managed to battle back with a late run to make it a 34-32 deficit at the intermission.
MSU’s second half was a thing of beauty as they took their first lead of the game (60-58) on a 3-point basket by Miller after a steal by Brion Sanchious with 8:40 remaining. The Racers made it a 10-0 run in a span of 1:50 on a three-point play by Morant for a 64-58 lead at 7:16. MSU pushed it to an 11-point lead on a three by Stark with 2:42 left. MSU’s largest of 13 points came with 40-seconds left on a pair of Byron Hawkins free throws.
MSU’s outscored the Redhawks 55-41 in the second half for their best scoring half of the season against an NCAA D-I team.
After trailing by three at halftime in the rebound stat, the Racers came back in the second half to tie SEMO 38-38. MSU hit 11 3-point baskets and gave up only five to the normally hot-shooting Redhawks. SEMO hit three of their first four 3-point attempts, but the Racers held them to 2-of-18 the rest of the way.
MSU sweeps the season two-game series with SEMO, after the Redhawks did the same to the Racers a year ago.
Coach Matt McMahon wins his 50th game with the Racers tonight. He’s 50-36 overall at Murray State and 27-16 in OVC play.
A second half of 55 points for the Racers marks their fifth half of 50-plus this season in games against NCAA D-I teams. Their previous best was 52 points in the first half against Marist.
MSU 50-Point Halves
02-01 @SE Missouri 55 2H
12-16 Marist 52 1H
01-06 UT Martin 51 2H
01-25 Morehead State 51 2H
11-25 Southern Illinois 50 2H
The Racers came into the SEMO game 20th in NCAA D-1 in field goal percentage at .494. Tonight they hit 30-of-58 for .517.
MSU started the game hitting 3-of-10 shots, and then finished it by hitting 27-of-48 for 56 percent. Starting 1-of-4 from the 3-point line, the Racers turned it on and finished hitting 10-of-19 for 52 percent.
Stark’s 29 points and the 23 that Morant added marked the third time this season that the Racers have had a pair of 20-point scorers.
MSU Two With 20 Points
Stark (29), Morant (23), @SEMO 02-01-18
Stark (23), Miller (21), Morehead State 01-25-18
Miller (24), Stark (21), Auburn 12-19-17
Dave Winder – Department of Athletics – Murray State State University
Associate AD – Media Relations