Murray State fell to the Southern Illinois Salukis in a 89-85 buzzer beater that sent the game into a overtime.
The Racers jumped out to a 13-4 lead within the first five minutes of the game with junior forward Terrell Miller leading the floor in scoring with eight points.
The Salukis responded out of the media timeout with back-to-back 3-point plays and shifted the momentum to the other end of the scoreboard. The Salukis were able to close the gap 25-24 just under the eight-minute mark.
Freshman forward Brion Sanchious sent a message in the second half, throwing down a dunk just above the 17-minute mark, extending Murray State’s lead 41-45. Both teams traded baskets over a two-minute span, neither able to pair together a basket and defensive stop.
The Racers were able to make a defensive stop with the clock winding down in the second half and took it to the offensive end where Miller created two points from the free-throw line bringing the Racers back within a two possession game, 66-62 Southern Illinois.
With a little more than three minutes to play in the second half, junior guard Jonathan Stark evened the score with a pull up jumper. Salukis’ senior guard Mike Rodriguez answered with a long 3, but senior guard Demarcus Croaker didn’t miss out on the fun, knocking down a 3-pointer to pull the Racers back to an even score 69-69, Southern Illinois in possession.
Junior guard Bryce Jones came into the game off the bench subbing for Miller who fouled out. With 5.7 seconds left on the clock, McGhee inbounded the ball to Stark, who went coast to coast and kicked it to Jones sitting in the corner. Jones nailed the 3 from the corner to tie the game 77-77 and extend into overtime.
“I thought Jonathan made a great play,” McMahon said. “He drove, drew some help then kicked it to Bryce who stepped up and knocked down the three.”
Overtime minutes came down to free throws and turnovers. In bonus, shooting an automatic two, both teams saw the line and even though the Racers pulled it within a single possession basketball game, careless turnovers after defensive stops kept them from being able to take the lead.
“We got two stops,” McMahon said. “Stops were hard to come by in this game and we got two then we turned them over immediately, threw them right back to SIU and I thought that really hurt us.”
A tip-in from Salukis player Sean O’Brien extended the lead to 87-85, then a foul put the Salukis back on the line, draining two that sealed the four-point win with 0.8 seconds left on the clock.
“I thought it was a heck of a college basketball game,” McMahon said. “I was disappointed because we weren’t able to come out on top. And credit to SIU they made the plays there in the overtime period really put us in some tough spots with their ball screen executed very well. I’m proud of our guys for their fight, they hung in there and kept extending the game, but disappointed that I wasn’t able to help them get the result we were looking for.”