Story by Collin Morris, Staff writer
The Murray State men’s basketball team challenged reigning C-USA champions Middle Tennessee State tonight, resulting in an 87-81 loss for the Racers.
The night’s contest began with a 21-13 run for the Racers, riding junior guard Jonathan Stark’s early nine points on 75 percent shooting. The Blue Raiders went on to rebuke the Racers with a run of their own, finishing the first half with a 41-39 lead.
Stark finished the half with 14 points on 63 percent shooting, while Damarcus Croaker, senior guard, followed suite with 12 points 53 percent shooting. The Racers’ only other contributors were senior guard Bryce Jones and junior forward Terrell Miller Jr., as not a single bench player converted a field goal.
In the second half, Murray State’s guard trio of Stark, Croaker and Jones continued their scoring effort with 29 points on 48 percent shooting. Stark, who did not rest for the entire 20 minutes half, also added 7 assists. Jalen Dupree, freshman forward, would be the only bench player to score with his late game layup.
Ultimately, Middle Tennessee State’s post presence would prove too much for the Racers, as redshirt senior forward JaCorey Williams, who played at the University of Arkansas last season, finished with 14 points on 75 percent shooting. Third Team All-Conference USA senior forward Reggie Upshaw, also poured on nine points on 57 percent shooting. Upshaw was critical in Middle Tennessee State’s NCAA Tournament upset over No. 1 Michigan State.
The Racers’ next game will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio as they face UW-Green Bay in the opening game of the Bill Frack Tournament.