The Murray State Racers scored a 73-54 win in the 2018-19 season opener Saturday over the Wright State Raiders at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.
The Racers (1-0) opened their 93rd season of college basketball by putting together two solid halves in holding the Raiders (1-1) to 38 percent from the field and 17 percent from the 3-point line.
Ja Morant and Tevin Brown powered the MSU attack with 27 and 17 points respectively, while newcomer Darnell Cowart came off the bench to add 11 points. Morant added 11 assists for a double-double and he also grabbed five rebounds. He had six double-doubles and one triple-double a year ago in his freshman season.
Leading 35-29 at the half, Brown scored the first eight points of the second half as Morant assisted on a pair of 3-pointers and one shot in the paint for a MSU 43-34 lead at 18:32. The closest the Raiders could get was four points with 13:35 remaining, but the Racers answered with a 9-1 run which included a pair of Cowart post-up buckets and a 3-pointer from Mike Davis for a 54-42 advantage with 11:14 left. Morant and Brown each hit threes to push the Racers to their largest lead of the night with 2:22 left at 73-54.
The Racers hit 54 percent from the field (27-of-50) in total and were 10-of-22 from the 3-point line for 45 percent which helped them enjoy having the lead for more than 30 minutes of the contest. The final shot chart showed the Racers hit 15-of-19 layups for 79 percent.
MSU gets back on the floor Friday at home (Nov. 16) for a 7 p.m. game with the Spalding Golden Eagles.
Game NotesThe Racers are now 6-1 all-time in the CFSB Center in home openers against NCAA D-I teams. Previously, the Racers had defeated Southern Illinois (1998) in the opening game of the building, Wagner (2003), Rider (2007), East Tennessee State (2010), Lost to Houston (2014) and defeated Illinois State (2016). Overall in the CFSB Center, the Racers are 20-1 in home openers.
The Racers have won back-to-back games against Wright State and trail in the all-time series 4-2. Since 2015, the two have met four-straight seasons.
Six Racers made their Murray State debut tonight led by freshman Tevin Brown. Coming off a redshirt season in 2017-18 where he had to sit out because of an injury, Brown made a splash in game on with 5-of-9 shooting from the 3-point line that pushed him to a 17-point night to go with five rebounds and a pair of assists. Here is how Brown’s effort against Wright State compares with other Racer freshmen that started the season opener since 2000. Murray State Freshmen Starters – Opening DayDate Player Opponent Score Stats11-10-18 Tevin Brown Wright State H W 17p, 5r, 2a11-10-17 Ja Morant Brescia H W 23m, 7p, 3r, 11a11-08-13 Cameron Payne Valparaiso A L 36m, 21p, 5t, 4a11-15-08 Ivan Aska Lyon H W 22m, 8p, 7r, 1a11-10-06 Tony Easley San Diego St. N L 16m, 6p, 0r, 0a11-20-04 Shane Dansby SIUE H W 15m, 2p, 0r, 0a11-20-00 Andi Hornig Gardner-Webb H L 20m, 4p, 10r, 2a
Racer fans should mark Dec. 15 on the calendar for a special day when MSU hosts Jackson State. Coach Tevester Anderson will be back on campus for the game that involves the last two teams he coached at during his distinguished career. Anderson assisted Mark Gottfried from 1995-98 and had a big part in three OVC regular season titles and a pair of NCAA appearances. As head coach from 1998-03, Coach T’s Murray State teams won 103 games in five seasons including two OVC titles and two trips to the Big Dance. Anderson ended his career at Jackson State (2003-13) by winning two SWAC titles and taking JSU to one NCAA appearance.
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