The Murray State Racers saw their five-game win streak snapped Thursday in a 76-71 defeat in Ohio Valley Conference play against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Mathews Coliseum in Jacksonville, Alabama.
The Racers (12-4) dropped their first OVC game after winning the first four and continue their weekend road trip with a Saturday contest at Tennessee Tech in a 7:30 p.m. tip at the Eblen Center in Cookeville, Tenn.
Jonathan Stark scored his 27th career 20-point scoring game when he tallied 29 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the 3-point line. MSU placed only one other scorer in double-figures with Terrell Miller, Jr., scored 10 points to go with a team–high nine rebounds.
Trailing by 17 points coming out of halftime, the Racers tried to overcome a night with too many mistakes and a sticky JSU defense. With 10:10 remaining, Ja Morant fed Stark for a 3-pointer, and later Byron Hawkins hit a 3-pointer and it was a 57-46 game. MSU wasn’t done just yet, Hawkins made a steal and set Stark up for another 3-pointer and it was a four-point game (69-65) with 1:14 left to play. However, the Racers never got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead. Stark hit another long three with seven seconds left to make it a three point game, before JSU closed out the 76-71 win.
The Racers had their second-highest total in turnovers for the season with 16. Only the 17 they had in the second game of the season (Nov. 13) against Middle Tennessee was more. JSU took MSU’s turnovers and turned them into 22 points.
As the Racers head to TTU Saturday, there is a five-way tie for first place in the OVC. After Tech’s 86-74 win over Austin Peay, the Racers have a share of first place at 4-1 with TTU, APSU, JSU and Belmont all at 4-1.
The Racers lead the all-time series with JSU 20-2 and have lost now in 2018 and in 2013, both were at Mathews Coliseum. Game two between the Racers and Gamecocks is at MSU’s CFSB Center Feb. 15.
Miller is making a run at becoming the 44th member of the MSU 1000-Point Club. With 10 points tonight, he now has 769 in 49 games at Murray State. Stark joined the club (Jan. 6).
Stark led the Racers with 29 points tonight. It marks the sixth-straight game he has done so and the 29th time in 49 games at MSU. Miller led MSU with nine rebounds and has done this in 30 of his 49 games at MSU.
Dave Winder – Department of Athletics – Murray State State University
Associate AD – Media Relations