Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
The Racers snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 66-56 win over Eastern Illinois. Murray State takes the court again Saturday at UT Martin.
Senior forward Kyra Gulledge and sophomore forward Ke’Shunan James led the team with 17 points a piece. Gulledge also had nine rebounds in the game. The Racers brought their record up to 7-12 overall and 3-5 in the OVC. Murray State knocked EIU’s record to 1-20 overall and 0-9 in the conference.
Head Coach Rob Cross said that he was impressed with his teams effort.
“Down the stretch we made the plays we needed to make,” Cross said.
With the win, it brings the Racers up to eighth place in the conference and are in line to make the OVC tournament in March.
Murray State welcomed the first place Cougars to the CFSB Center. Neither team seemed to want to win the game in the first quarter as the game was tied 18-18 going into the second frame.
However, SIUE came out attacking in the second quarter, outscoring the Racers 20-8 to take a 12-point lead into halftime. Cross said the team let their heads down and the deficit sucked the energy out of them for the second quarter.
“Everybody’s heads are hanging, and we are telling them ‘you’re fine’,” Cross said. “You’re in the game, it’s a 40-minute game, people are going to make runs, you’re OK.”
Before the half started, James huddled the team for a motivational pep talk to try and get the Racers back into the game.
“To me, the players are the ones that have to play the game,” Cross said. “It’s their team. We try to give them as much ownership in the team as possible.”
The game would continue to only get closer when the Racers found themselves down three points with 9.0 left in the game.
Senior forward Jashae Lee and James both missed threes to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Racers traveled to Eastern Kentucky Jan. 20, coming off of a couple tough starts the Racers were able to make this a game for the first three quarters, where the lead changed 15 different times.
However, in the fourth quarter Eastern Kentucky proved to be too much for the Racers, outscoring them 19-11. The Colonels defeated the Racers 72-60.
Murray State’s junior guard, LeAsia Wright finished the game off with 17 points to lead the team, and James followed closely with 16 points of her own.
They were the only two Racers to score in double digits in the game. Eastern Kentucky got its help from junior forward and guard Jalen O’Bannon who put up 25 points and was followed by senior forward and guard Shameekia Murray with 15 points to her credit.