Belmont had just lost by 11 to Tennessee State, so for the time being Murray State was back on top the OVC and with a favorable schedule ahead, they would probably win it for the fourth straight time. The only problem; the Racers were losing to SIU-Edwardsville.
The game began to slip away and 30 minutes later, the OVC crown was Belmont's to lose again. Could the Bruins slip up one more time? Sure, I guess it would be possible. They have now proven they are not unbeatable like we once thought. If Murray State could win out there would still be a chance and again they were playing a favorable schedule.
Going into Saturday's game one would think that Murray State would come out mad. That they would play with intensity that we have only seen for the one game versus Belmont. That after being embarrassed on Thursday they would take out their frustration on EIU. Even during the Pre game, the Panther's announcer pretty much said I would hate to be us. Having to play Murray State coming off of a loss, well that shouldn't help your cause.
Murray State was going to run the Panthers out of the gym.
But that didn't happen. Murray State never led in the second half and an inferior team stunned Racernation for the 2nd time in 3 days.
(Quick note: anytime I am negative in my posts towards how Murray State played I am usually greeted with emails or direct messages saying something like "Im a true fan I love my Racers no matter what." Well I love this basketball program too but I don't find it acceptable to lose to teams ranked in RPI over 300 out of 347. So if you are one of those people who gasp at anything negative written about your team don't read the following observations.)
- Although they never led in the game they did cut it to two with just under 3 minutes to play. What happened then was, what had frustrated me all night. Brandon Garrett got beat backdoor and it led to a wide open lay-up for EIU. I guess they will never learn how to not get beat on that play and I guess our guys will never learn what a zone defense looks like.
- What happened next was probably more frustrating. Instead of looking to go inside, or drive the lane to try to get to the basket or draw a foul. We just dribbled the ball...just dribbled around....took 30 seconds off the clock...and just when you think they are waiting for something to develop....the ball is quickly given to Stacy Wilson who is forced to jack up a three. Although Stacy had been shooting well that night and finished with 20, is that the shot we want after taking half of a minute off the clock? A contested three with the shot clock winding down?
- I heard from at least 4 people close to the team that they are upset but not that bummed about it and will try to bounce back on Wednesday. Well I hope that is not true because I am f$%^&&* livid. You don't go and lose to SIU-E (Ranked over 250 in RPI) and EIU (Ranked over 300 in RPI) and consider yourself a good basketball team. Slip up and lose to one, maybe. But both in the span of 3 days? No. That shouldn't just make you ''a little upset." That should make you so unbelievably pissed off that come Wednesday, Sean Woods isn't the only person making his players cry. So I hope that what I have heard isn't true.
- I also heard from those same 4 people, that it is hard for the players to get excited to play against SIU-E and EIU. Really? Your getting a free education to play Division 1 basketball, is that not enough motivation? Or how about the fact you represent, not only a school but a city who takes so much pride in this program, is that not enough motivation? Or how about the fact that an OVC title is on the line? Is that not enough motivation? Or what about the NBA scouts being in attendance? Is having scouts from the NBA who will tell their owners to look into drafting you not enough motivation to get excited for the game and want to go out and play hard? Forgive me for not buying that excuse.
- Don't get me wrong, I get it. The hype for the Belmont game was incredible. I had butterflies all day long and I wasn't even playing. For the SIU-E game my mindset was basically "Okay cool, we have a game tonight and after tonight we will be 19-5." But it isn't my legacy and career on the line and the games still have to played. The opponents still have Division 1 caliber players on their roster that want to win and believe they can.
- Murray State shot 39 threes and only 21 twos on Saturday. We had three guys shoot over 10 three point shots. Who made the least? Canaan. Ed and Garrett rarely got the ball in the interior and as result of standing behind the perimeter, Murray State didn't get to the free throw line as much. The Racers only had 8 attempts from the free throw line, where they connected on just 5.
- The bright spots from Saturday were Stacy Wilson and Jeffery Moss. Wilson shot 6-12 from three and finished with 20 points and Moss shot 3 of 4 from three and finished with 11 points.
- The most hideous stats from this past week is from our All-American who shot 12-42 in the last two games. People say Canaan and Daniel are still playing with minor injuries. If that is true, I wish Prohm would address that in every post game interview (which for the first time in his short career he didn't do a post game interview at all) just so that everyone, media, scouts and fans will understand that.
Although it won't change our seed, I would love to see Murray State come out and thump Morehead State on Wednesday. Mainly so we are coming off a big win, when SDSU comes to the Bank. That needs to be a rowdy crowd. It has been a while since Murray State was on ESPN2 and it would be nice to see a sold out CFSB.
WRITTEN BY: STEVE PEAKE(MKYSPORTS.COM)