A fast start was not enough for the Racers Sunday afternoon in a 72-51 loss on the road against the Dayton Flyers, dropping Murray State to 5-7 on the season.
Junior forward Jonathan Fairell scored the Racers’ first six points in the game, giving Murray State a 6-2 advantage less than four minutes into the game.
Murray State continued to match Dayton basket for basket, earning a 17-13 lead halfway through the first period.
The Flyers held the Racers scoreless for the next three minutes, but Murray State scored eight points in the final 9:31 of the half to head into the break trailing 33-25.
The Racers never recovered in the second half. Murray State was outrebounded 28-16 and struggled offensively, making just 37 percent of its attempted field goals. The Flyers pulled away from the second half’s opening whistle en route to the 21 point victory.
Murray State had three players score double-digit points, with freshman Cameron Payne leading the way with 13 points and six assists. Junior T.J. Sapp tallied 12 points and a team-high three steals. Junior Jarvis Williams also chipped in 10 points and four rebounds.
Sapp has been a sparkplug for the team since making his Murray State debut about two weeks ago. In the three games since Sapp’s first appearance, the junior guard leads the team in scoring with 17.3 points per game. He has made 14-16 from the free throw line and is shooting 47 percent from the field.
The loss to Dayton ends Murray State’s non-conference portion of the season. The Racers have struggled through a tough early season schedule, going just 3-7 against Division One opponents.
Murray State now looks ahead to the start of OVC play as west division rival Southeast Missouri visits Murray January 2 to kick off both teams’ conference schedules.
The Racers and Redhawks tip off 7 p.m. Saturday at the CFSB Center.