The Racers completed the regular season sweep of the Governors Saturday afternoon, capturing a fifth consecutive victory over Austin Peay.
It was a back and forth game in the first half, with the lead changing eight times. Both teams effectively contained the opponents top scorers, with Murray State senior guard Isaiah Canaan and Austin Peay junior guard Travis Betran both scoring only two points by the half.
Canaan, who usually excels from the 3-point line, went ice cold from the field, going 0-7 in the first half. It was senior forwards Ed Daniel and Latreze Mushatt who kept the Racers in the game each scoring 10 and seven points respectively in the first half, giving Murray State a 29-28 lead.
(Canaan) is struggling shooting the ball right now and I don’t know what it is,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “There are some open shots. I’ll watch the tape, you know some of them are good looks and he’s just struggling shooting.”
Mushatt had his biggest game of the season, after returning Jan. 3 from a torn Achilles tendon which sidelined him for the first three months of the season. Slowly working his way back from the injury, Mushatt finally put it all together Saturday, logging season-highs in minutes (28), points (14) and rebounds (eight).
“Latreze is a big part of our team,” Daniel said. “We all know he can score, he helps us on the wing spread the floor out. Playing defense, he’s very tough on the defensive end.”
Canaan finally found his scoring tough in the second half, going 6-11 from the field. The Governors got hot from 3-point range, however, sinking seven in the second half. The two teams kept the game close, and continued to exchange small leads back and forth.
A Jeffery Moss with 2:30 in the game allowed Austin Peay to tie the game at 58.30 seconds later, Will Triggs found guard Jerome Clyburn for a corner 3 to give Austin Peay a 5-point lead with just 1:55 to play.
With the Racers’ hopes looking bleak, Prohm called a timeout to regroup his team.
“We got down by five with a minute and a half to go and they executed and they really responded,” Prohm said. “That’s what we’ve got to understand is it’s just about winning. It’s not about winning by 20, it’s just about winning the game.”
The Racers came out of the timeout and pulled back to within three on a Stacy Wilson floater in the lane. As Austin Peay brought the ball back down the floor, an errant pass by Anthony Campbell gave possession back to the Racers with a chance to tie it with 1:11 to play.
Mushatt picked up a foul and hit both free throws to pull the Racers back to within one. With 14 seconds remaining in the game, a Chris Horton foul sent Isaiah Canaan to the free throw line with his team down one.
Canaan missed his first free throw, but made the second to even the score at 63. Betran missed the 3-pointer as time expired and the teams headed into overtime.
Isaiah Canaan came to life in the overtime period and the Racers took control of the game. Canaan finally hit his first and only 3 of the game with 2:28 remaining in overtime, and the Racers never looked back. The clock struck zero and Murray State completed the regular season sweep of the Governors, 75-68.
It won’t get any easier for the Racers however, as the No. 1 team in the conference, the Belmont Bruins, are headed to Murray for a Thursday night showdown. Still undefeated in conference play, the Racers are sure to have their hands full as they try to contain the high-scoring Bruins.
“We’ve got to get ready for a tremendous challenge Thursday against the number one team in the league right now,” Prohm said. We’ve got unbelievable respect for them – probably the best backcourt in the league with (Ian Clark) and (Kerron Johnson) and they’re playing at a very high level. We’ve going to have to be on our A-game to be there and win on Thursday.”
The Racers and Bruins tip off at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the CFSB Center.
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer.