Strong shooting, tough defense help Racers top Auburn 79-59: Team looks to continue strong performance against St. Johns

Seniors Brandon Garrett and Isaiah Canaan team up to defend Auburn’s Josh Wallace. The Racers take on St. Johns Friday at 4:30 p.m. || Photos by Ricky Martin/Murray Leger & Times

Seniors Brandon Garrett and Isaiah Canaan team up to defend Auburn’s Josh Wallace. The Racers take on St. Johns Friday at 4:30 p.m. || Photos by Ricky Martin/Murray Leger & Times

The Murray State men’s basketball team dominated Auburn in the first round of the Charleston Classic Thursday night.

Strong shooting and tough defense on the part of the Racers (2-0) proved too much for the Tigers (1-1) to handle. Murray scored 79 points, holding the Tigers to only 59.

The starting five, led by senior guard Isaiah Canaan, took early control of the game. Only seven minutes into the game the Racers were carrying a comfortable 16-6 lead.

Murray State would end the first half leading Auburn 45-19, shooting 61.5 percent in the 3-point range and 58 percent from the field.

The Racer’s defense was in fine form, keeping the Tigers without a field goal for about seven minutes of the first half.

Senior Ed Daniel finished Thursday night with six points, five rebounds and four steals.

Murray State continued to dominate the game in the second half, with a 10-2 run. The Racers would score 34 more points in the half. The team shot 48 percent from the field goal and 30 percent in 3-point shots.

In the early minutes of the second half, junior guard Dexter Fields had an injury scare after what looked like he hyper-extended his knee coming down from a rebound attempt. Fields limped off the court escorted by team assistants, only to return to action with 11 minutes left to play. If the Racers were to have lost Fields it would have severely hurt the team, the roster is already on guard short without freshman Zay Jackson.

With 6:57 left in the second half, and the lead steady at 35 points, Head Coach Steve Prohm subbed all five starters out of the game giving his freshman – ­dominate bench the chance to finish out the win.

Scoring was wide spread through out the team but Canaan came out on top with 22 points in the first half – more than the entire Auburn team put up in the first half. The All-American guard scored 26 points overall, going 3-5 in 3-point shots, before taking an early exit from the game midway through the second half.

Senior Stacy Wilson also scored big against Auburn. Wilson scored 18 points going 6-10 and scoring four of Murray State’s 11 3-pointers.

The Racers held a 53 percent (27 of 51) field goal average overall and were 11-23 (48 percent) in 3-point shots. They kept Auburn to just 33 percent (20 of 60) shooting and 2-10 (20 percent) in the 3-point range. Murray State recorded nine steals and forced the Tigers into 20 turnovers.

The Racer men will face a strong St. John’s team Friday, at 4:30 p.m. CDT. St. John’s defeated host team College of Charleston Thursday, 64-53.

Staff Report