Despite leading by as many as 14 points in the first half, the men’s basketball team lost 71-64 to Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon.
Riding strong play from junior T.J. Sapp, Murray State stormed out to a 20-8 lead nine minutes into the game. Sapp scored 12 first-half points and finished with a game-high 25 points. He also added two steals and two assists.
The Hilltoppers rallied back, however, as the second half wound down. Western Kentucky cut the Racer lead to 5 as Murray State went into halftime up 33-28.
The Racers maintained the lead for much of the second half, but junior Hilltopper guard T.J. Price turned the game around.
Price failed to record a point in the first half, but came on strong after halftime, scoring 15 points and pulling down six rebounds. With 9:25 to play, Price drained a 3-pointer to give Western Kentucky a 1-point lead.
The Hilltoppers never looked back.
Lead by Price, Western Kentucky took over the game, amassing an 11-point lead before sealing the 71-64 victory.
The Racers shot the ball well throughout the contest, shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.
Free throws and rebounding, however, continued to hurt the Murray State team. The Racers made just 10-18 (56 percent) free throws and were outrebounded 39-30.
The loss drops Murray State to 5-6 on the season and ends a three-game winning streak. The Racers now look forward to an eight-day Christmas break before traveling to Dayton, Ohio, to take on the Dayton Flyers in the final nonconference contest of the regular season.
Murray State returns home Jan. 2 to take on Southeast Missouri in the conference opener.