It was obvious from the jump that whichever team hustled hardest would come out victorious as the Racers took on the Middle Tennessee State University at the CFSB Center Tuesday night. Senior forward Wayne Langston won the tip, but junior Bryce Jones was unable to retrieve in before it bounced out of bounds under the Racers’ basket.
The Blue Raiders came out with a fire at first taking an early 5-0 lead. The Racers were quick to cut the deficit, though, as junior forward Gee McGhee tied it up just over 10 minutes into the game and drew the foul to take the lead on a free throw.
Freshman Chad Culbreath contributed valuable minutes off the bench in the first half, with five points, a rebound and a steal. Senior Jeffery Moss added 10 points, two assistants and three rebounds before the Racers entered the locker room with a 37-30 lead at halftime.
The Racers put up the first points of the second half, but the Blue Raiders quickly went on a run to cut their deficit to five. Murray State maintained the lead throughout, but not without a few scares, including a back-to-back pair of threes from MTSU’s Reggie Upshaw and Jaqawn Raymond.
Moss matched his leadership role with his stats against the Blue Raiders, totaling 19 points and going six for six from the free throw line. The team’s only other senior, Langston, added 15 points of his own while junior Damarcus Croaker made a strong showing both under the basket with eight rebounds and an assertive late-game dunk. Culbreath added 10 points in his 14 minutes on the court, and Jones added nine points, four rebounds and six assists. Junior Gee McGhee contributed seven points and four points, communicating with a strong voice on the court.
Moss ended the game by sinking two free throws with under 20 seconds on the clock. The Racers bested the Blue Raiders 76-65 with a standing ovation from Racer Nation as Head Coach Matt McMahon took home his first Division I win.
Story by Mallory Tucker