The Murray State Racers won for the fifth-straight time Saturday with a 78-72 victory over Illinois State at Redbird Arena in Bloomington.
The Racers improved to 6-1 while the Redbirds fell to 4-6.
Murray State is 2-0 on the road this season and tries for more Tuesday when they meet the Saint Louis Billikens. The 7 p.m. tip will be televised by Fox Sports Midwest at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri.
In a thrilling game, the Racers were led by Terrell Miller, Jr. with 25 points, while Shaq Buchanan added 16 and Ja Morant 15 to go with a team-high nine rebounds. Jonathan Stark scored 13 points as he and Morant combined for 12 assists.
Leading by as many as 13 with 13:28 remaining, the Racers withstood a furious ISU rally that eventually cut the lead to 70-68 with 2:37 left. The game turned in the final minute when the MSU defense got three-straight stops on ISU and iced the game on a lob score from Miller to Jalen Dupree and a pair of Morant free throws with :20 seconds on the clock.
In the first half, the Racers started slow, fell behind 7-0, and trailed again 21-13 with 11 minutes before the half. The Racers rallied after a pair of threes from Stark and a bucket by Miller for their first lead at 22-21 with 6:45 left. The Racers hit five shots in a row, four were 3-point baskets and ended the half with a 25-6 run to lead the Redbirds 36-27 at the intermission.
The Racers now lead the all-time series with ISU 4-1. Today’s win was their second game at Redbird Arena since 2015 and their first win there.
With their win over Southern Illinois (Nov. 25) and now today at ISU, the Racers are 61-50 all-time against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference.
Both teams came into this game with a 4-1 mark when leading at half. The Racers had a 36-27 and are now 5-1.
Jonathan Stark and Terrell Miller continue their quest to become the 43rd and 44th members of the MSU 1000-Point Club. They both played in their 40th game at Murray State today. Stark now has 830 points and Miller has reached 650 points.
The freshman Morant continues to place himself in the front of the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year race. Morant was scored 15 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists.
Even though they didn’t get the lead until 6:48 left in the first half, the Racers led the rest of the way and for 26:48 total.
Dave Winder – Department of Athletics – Murray State State University
Associate AD – Media Relations