Ian Clark hits a three. Murray State 70, Belmont 66. 2:35 left to play. They did it and they did it with time to spare. Belmont scored 16 points in just over 3 minutes. It once looked as if Murray State was going to flip the script on Belmont and maybe even get a 20 point win but now the Racers are just trying to hold on.
Ian Clark drills another three. Murray State 74, Belmont 71 1:19 to play. They don't have to foul, Murray State will probably take about 30 seconds off the clock before forcing a shot, taking the clock down to about 49 seconds. If we don't score Belmont will actually have a chance to tie.
Latreze turns it over off the press, Ian Clark hits another three, this one over Ed Daniel. Murray Sate 74 Belmont 74 1:00 left to play.
The energy was completely taken out of the building at that point. How in the world did that lead disappear so fast? With Belmont guaranteed one more shot I believe every Racer fan in the Bank last night wanted Murray State to attempt a three.
Canaan got a bump from Daniel, elevated, faded away and just like an All-American and future NBA draft pick, splashed what ended up being the game winning three point shot.
Now for some observations from last night.
- How good is Ian Clark? Honestly, I am not a big fan of his form. I think he shoots too low and he pulls his hands back too much but who really can argue with a guy who shoots with that kind of consistency? Coming in to last night's game he was shooting 59% from three in OVC play. Last night in the first half he put a finger over his lips to signify to the crowd to hush. He didn't have to do that his three point shooting shut us up real quick in the final 5 minutes. Luckily though it was his own turnover that cost Belmont a chance to tie the game again. On Twitter he took full responsibility for the loss even though if it wasn't for him the Bruins would have never had a shot. You have to respect players like that and I do.
- There is no way Belmont fans wouldn't have infiltrated this blog much like the way the Jacksonville State fans did if I complained about the officials and we had lost. I remember reading an article about an OVC official who said that he doesn't use the money he makes officiating to pay the bills. Basically being a referee is a part time job that doesn't have too much money in it. The OVC commish was at the game last night and she had to have seen some of the atrocious calls that were made, making me wonder, Should we start paying for better officiating? The Stacy Wilson tie up, the push off call on Canaan when the Belmont defender was leaning on him, the call on Treze where the referee partially blew the whistle and everyone played on, including the other officials. A call where Canaan leaned into the Belmont defender and the official gave Isaiah the call. (I am sure there were more that went Murray's way but those don't stick out as much.) It was bad all the way around.
- Isaiah Canaan: for a guy who only made 4 field goals, he sure did score a lot of points. Sip poured in 26 and obviously none bigger than the game winning fade away three point shot. Who Bruins coach Rick Byrd credited to bad defense. Really? It seemed to me Trevor Noack was right in his face forcing Canaan to have to fade away. C'mon Coach Byrd you have been around the game long enough to know an incredible shot when you see one.
- Ed Daniel may have only scored 5 points but he had 4 assists and 10 huge rebounds and 2 steals. Ed does not have to score to be a huge contributor to this team. I thought with Belmont being a shorter team that we might feed him more but when the guy mentioned below is doing what he did, Ed is playing the role of decoy. Also it was Daniel who forced the turnover that sealed the win for Murray State.
- Brandon Garrett had a phenomenal game again. BG's go to move, that left handed hook shot, is as smooth as ever right now. 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field that kind of production out of Garrett is going to find us a spot in the NCAA tourney.
- Dexter Fields hit 3 three's last night including two in a row to get the lead up to 48-37 with 11 minutes and change left. I thought Dex took a couple threes a little too early in the shot clock but they were open looks in the corner that in most cases you don't want him passing up.
- Latreze Mushatt was big time again. He was second on the team in rebounds and had a sweet tip in off a Canaan miss. I really thought his three pointer, which extended the lead to 15 with only 6:41 left, was the nail in the coffin.
- CJ Forde only played 6 minutes but made the most of it with a nice drive to the basket and in a game as close as this one every bucket mattered.
- Jeffery Moss hit one three and added a rebound to the stat sheet. His three from the wing with just under 10 to play was right on target but just a little too long. If that shot falls, Murray State is up 18 and probably cruises.
- Stacy Wilson hit back to back threes in the first half and took a third straight that looked to be going in as well. Wilson finished with 16 points making him the second leading scorer. He also picked up 2 steals and 3 boards. He may have only shot 6 of 17 but some were shots that he was forced into taking to avoid a shot clock violation. Let's just go ahead and mark it down as three straight good scoring games from Wilson. Also his defense last night was nothing shy of awesome.
FOOTAGE OF THE GAME
I was losing my mind during the final minute so I was unable to get Canaan's three or the Clark turnover but it does have some nice shots of fan and player reactions after the game. As a TV production major I am not proud of how I shot this and please excuse the screaming, I think I was a little excited.
Murray State now has the task of having to beat Belmont twice if they want to play in the Big Dance. (Assuming Belmont wins their first game.) But first there is another daunting task ahead of them, the Tennessee State Tigers.
The Racers are now only one game back from the OVC lead. One more slip up by the Bruins (and no more by the Racers) and that will be another OVC Regular Season Championship.