Sunday, January 6, 2013

Racers comeback from down 12 to defeat SEMO

                               1          2         Final
Murray State       28        46         74
SEMO                  34        32         66

Murray State improved to 11-3  but the 11th win of the season was, by no means, an easy one. The Racers fell behind by 12 before ending the final 16 minutes on a 42-22 run and escaping the Show Me Center with a huge OVC road victory.

Now for some notes on the game:

After the win over UT-Martin on Thursday I wasn't very pleased with the way we played. I thought we looked sloppy and undisciplined. Some people may have similar feelings about the game today. Some may say "Canaan was trying to force shots in the first half." or "Stacey Wilson was only 4 of 14 from the field." Or "Daniel shot 3/7 from the charity stripe." Or "Where was Dexter Fields?" My opinion for a game like this one is as follows; if you escape with the win we should all be happy.

The Redhawks got off to a hot start going ahead 9-1 and was able to play Murray State close to even throughout the remainder of the first. The Racers cut the lead to one possession a few times throughout the first half and credit Stacey Wilson for keeping the Racers in it while Canaan struggled to find his shot in the first 20 minutes. Ed Daniel was obviously doing work in the interior but for all the criticism Stacey has taken his nine points, highlighted by back to back 3 point plays, were huge for Murray State. 

In the second half it was the Isaiah Canaan show. Sip knocked down three triples in the second half, including one he hit while being fouled. Canaan chipped in 23 in the second half maybe none bigger than his step back fade away jumper that put Murray State up 56-52. After the shot, Dicky Nutt (what a terrible name for someone in the public arena) called a timeout. What followed was, what I thought, a result of Canaan being heckled by fans, double/triple teamed, bumped around and trashed talked to by SEMO players. Sip eyed the SEMO bench and as he walked by it became a little vocal. Now, I have no idea what was said but Western fans on Twitter don't even need to know. From what they saw in those 12 seconds on TV is all they needed to arrive at the conclusion that Isaiah is a "punk". An official standing by the bench didn't "T" him up so I suppose it was harmless. Not only that, but since when did showing emotion make you a punk? Whatever, great game tonight Hilltoppers.  

Ed Daniel got his 8th double-double of the season at the 10 minute mark of the 2nd half. 15 points and 17 rebounds. Ed gave Murray State the lead after benefiting from a sweet pass from Stacey Wilson. 

Steve Prohm decided to go only 7 deep tonight and I have no problem with that. It was a tough environment and some freshmen were not ready. Jeffery Moss however came off the bench and hit a big three and a couple of freethrows. Zay Henderson did okay in his 7 minutes, picking up a few boards. I really think Zay can be an Ivan Aska kind of player by the time he is a Junior/Senior but he is a work in progress at this point.

The play of the game, in my opinion, came when Stacey Wilson let go from three with just a few minutes left in the game and Murray hanging to a 3 point lead. Wilson was robbed of three points as the ball rattled in and then out. Brandon Garrett saved the day as he grabbed the rebound and but in a little kiss off the glass and drew the foul. Garret completed the three point play and the lead was back to six. The foul also fouled out the Redhawks' top scorer AJ Jones.

I know some of the negatives stick out to us as fans but tonight we got a "W" and that's all that matters. However, if we make the NCAA tournament and upset a couple teams it will mean that we got drastically better from this point forward. We allowed SEMO to get open shots, we allowed them to get to the basket and we let them take over the game and build a 12 point lead. At that point, we could have folded and accepted a 4th loss. That didn't happen and so we should enjoy this win until Wednesday at 7.


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