Saturday, February 2, 2013

Murray State 75 Austin Peay 68 Postmortem

I put my head down as Jerome Clyburn released a three pointer from the corner. I knew that if it went in I was going home unhappy. Sighs of exasperation filled my ears and I began to accept our fate of falling to 6-3 in conference. I began the process of trying to calm down, thinking to myself "it's okay we will still win the west, we will still only have to win two games in Municipal."

Then Stacy Wilson hit a jumper, Austin Peay threw the ball away, Mushatt hit two free throws and Isaiah Canaan drew a foul sending him to the line for two and a chance for the lead with 14 seconds left. Again, I couldn't watch. 

I turned my head from the game and  watched the fans behind me react to the shot. Their response to the first free throw let me know we were still down by one. I stayed looking at the fans right up until Sip was about to let go for his second shot, I turned my head towards the court just in time to see the ball splash through the net. 

13 more gut wrenching seconds later we were headed to overtime. 

Murray State was then able to pull away in the extra minutes to improve to 16-5 and 7-2 in conference. 

  • I know it is considered to be one of the biggest rivalry games in the OVC, if not the biggest but for some reason I just can not bring myself to truly hate Austin Peay. At least not the way I do some other OVC teams and not the way I do that school in south central Kentucky. Regardless it is always nice to get a win over Dave Loos and the Governors. 
  • Alright so who else saw that Austin Peay player fall when trying to celebrate with his teammates after a timeout? I know many in the student section did and tried to make it as embarrassing for him as possible.
  • Speaking of the student section, I am not sure who the guy was but I wanted to shake his hand for going over to the students and basically telling them, look you are at a basketball game it is okay to stand and cheer. A noon tip off is not good for students.
  • Latreze Mushatt was HUGE for the Racers today. Not only did he show clutchiness by hitting two big free throws late but the guy grabbed 8 rebounds and chipped in 14 points. He hit his first three of the season and had a big stretch of events with the Racers up one where he finished two straight lay ups that gave Murray State a five point lead and forcing Loos to take a TO. Don't forget also that it was his rebound off a Stacy Wilson miss that lead to a Canaan three point play on the first possession in OT.
  • Isaiah Canaan's three point streak was in jeopardy so he decided to make only one of two from the free throw line with 14 seconds left to get the game into Overtime and give himself 5 extra minutes to knock down a trey. With 2:28 left in Overtime, Sip hit a fade away three to increase the lead to 5 and his streak of games with a three pointer to 30. Isaiah was bumped and closely guarded all afternoon and although he was able to get some shots off early he didn't get his first field goal until 12:09 to go in regulation. Still the All-American finished with 19 points and a career high 8 rebounds. (That's right, if you were keeping count you would have noticed Canaan was tied for the most boards.) He played all 45 minutes.
  • Stacy Wilson finished with 12 points with his final 6 being crucial to Murray State pulling out the win. His basket with 1:46 kept Murray State in the game as the APSU lead got trimmed to 3. For all the criticism Wilson has taken let us take a minute and imagine if he misses that shot. Austin Peay now has the ball up 5 and could take the clock down to just about 1:10. Stacy's shot, which had a degree of difficulty much higher than I would have liked in that situation, ultimately saved the day for Murray State. 
  • Ed Daniel could have finished one of the best plays Murray State has executed all season when received an ally-oop pass from Canaan has time expired on the first half but the ball went down and then out. Big Ed finished with 13 points and 8 boards in 40 minutes. 
  • Dexter Fields had the accuracy of  5 Ray Allen's in the early going knocking down back to back triples. He threw up his three goggles and then never scored again. He missed a three out of the corner before getting his own rebound and missing a gimme lay up. Other than the struggles of the second half, Fields had a decent game in his 20 minutes of work. 
  • Jefferey Moss Had one basket in his 28 minutes but what is a little concerning is how he has simmered down a little bit from three. All of the people, including me, who wanted Moss to get more minutes than Wilson might reconsider at this juncture. Moss will get it going again but Stacy has improved in the last couple of games.
  • Brandon Garrett only played 12 minutes but was 3 of 3 from the field and made one free throw to finish the game with 7 points. In his limited playing time Garrett had a pretty good game. My guess is that with the emergence of Latreze Mushatt, BG's playing time may take a hit. As long as he continues to give us quality minutes when he is in, we shouldn't see it fall too far. 

The officiating was as expected and there were even a few times I sympathized with Dave Loos on a few calls that went Murray's way.  After every blown call I found myself pacing towards the folks in section 109 to hear what they had to say. They are vocal and have no problem with voicing their displeasure towards the officiating. Seriously, it is entertainment and a privilege to watch a Murray State game with them.

I sat at the press table for most of the second half but from the 2 minute mark on, I was pacing behind it. It was as nervous as I have been at a Murray State game since the OVC Championship last year. The combination of Red Bull and a close game had my hands shaking through the final few seconds of regulation and my heart pumping fast. I asked some of the people around "Aren't games suppose to be fun?" To which someone replied, "Only if you win."

We won't beat Belmont playing this way, we won't make the NCAA Tournament playing this way and we may not even win a Conference tournament game playing this way but we won today. So yes it was fun.

Go Racers!

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