The Murray State Racers broke from the gate fast, but couldn’t bring it home in a 69-55 loss to the
Saint Louis Billikens Monday at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Racers saw their five-game win streak stopped as they dropped to 6-2. SLU is now 5-5.
Murray State returns home to the CFSB Center Saturday to face the Marist Red Foxes and in a week (Dec. 19) Auburn comes to visit.
Leading 18-8 at the start, the Racers ran into foul trouble and they went cold for a nine-minute stretch without a field goal. Jalen Dupree scored with 13:00 left at the start of the cold spell and ended it at the 4:13 mark. All the Racers had in between was a pair of free throws from Jonathan Stark, but yet they still led 22-18. The Racers did enough to carry the lead into the half at 31-28.
SLU started with a burst in the second half and took the lead for good with 17:54 left at 36-33.
MSU trailed by 18 with 8:58 left, but rallied to make it a 57-47 game on back-to-back 3-pointers from Stark and Terrell Miller. The Racers couldn’t get the deficit to single digits.
Stark led the Racers with 18 points, while Shaq Buchanan tossed in 11. Ja Morant scored his first Racer double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. His six assists meant he flirted with a triple-double again. Miller, MSU’s leading scorer, was limited to 26 minutes of floor time after he picked up his second personal foul with 12:35 in the first half. He finished with eight points.
The Racers made their first visit to SLU and played their first game against the Billikens since 1999.
MSU is 8-23 all-time against the current membership of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Racers’ defense did the job on the Billikens in holding them to 35 percent shooting (22-of-62), but they had their worst shooting night of the season in hitting 19-of-55 for the same 35 percent.
Entering the game 40th in NCAA D-I in free throw shooting at .758. The Racers were 12-of-19 tonight for 63 percent.
Jonathan Stark and Terrell Miller continue their push to join the MSU 1000-Point Club. When they get there, they’ll be the 43rd and the 44th members of this exclusive club. Each have played 41 games in their careers with the Racers. Stark is now up to 868 points and Miller sits at 658.
Murray State has four of their next five games at the friendly confines of the CFSB Center. The Racers meet Marist Saturday in their first meeting with the Red Foxes, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Marist’s last game before facing the Racers was last Saturday in a 79-76 loss at home to Stetson that dropped them to 2-8.
Ticket sales have been brisk for the most talked about game at the CFSB Center in a long time. Auburn’s visit (Dec. 19) is the first for a team from the Southeastern Conference in the 20 seasons of the CFSB Center and the first to visit MSU since 1993 when the Racers beat Ole Miss 87-68 in Racer Arena.
Speaking of tickets, Murray State Athletics is offering a basketball ticket special through Dec. 15. Racer Family Game Nights allow fans to purchase four general admission seats for the four Ohio Valley Conference doubleheaders in January for only a total of $40. The Racers have four women’s/men’s doubleheaders with Southeast Missouri (Jan. 4), UT Martin (Jan. 6), Morehead State (Jan. 25) and Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 27). The men’s game against Morehead State is also being aired by ESPNU.All purchases must be completed in person at the CFSB Center ticket office or by phone at (270) 809-3000.
Dave Winder – Department of Athletics – Murray State State University
Associate AD – Media Relations