Men’s basketball moves up to 5-1 in OVC play after defeating Eastern Kentucky

Story by Blake Sandlin, contributing writer

 

Coming back from a 3-1 road trip, Murray State hosted their second conference matchup at home in front of a record-breaking crowd, facing off against Eastern Kentucky.

Murray State’s “Greek Night” brought record numbers in attendance. More than 1,200 students came out Thursday night to showcase their Greek pride and cheer on their team, which set a school record for the highest student attendance since 2012. The Racers (12-9) didn’t disappoint, as they claimed an 86-79 victory over the Colonels to give them a 5-1 record in OVC play.

It was a team effort for the Racers, as three of their players combined for a total of 63 of their 86 points. Senior guard Damarcus Croaker led the way, scoring a team high 23 points on 10-18 shooting. Jonathan Stark, junior guard, held his own at the point, adding 5 assists and a steal to go along with 21 points.

After junior forward Terrell Miller took a fall midway through the first half, he saw his minutes limited, playing a mere 18 minutes. Miller, however, bounced back in the second half and managed to put up a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing a team high 10 rebounds.

The Colonels were led by freshman guard Asante Gist, who scored 26 points off of 20 shots. Gist also led his team with 5 assists on the night. Nick Mayo, sophomore forward, pitched in for Eastern Kentucky, adding 19 points shooting 70 percent.

Murray State has now won six of their last seven games and is second in the OVC standings, which Damarcus Croaker says has had a tremendous effect on team morale.

“There’s a lot of confidence,” Croaker said. “I love our team chemistry right now. Everyone is going out there and playing hard. We’re doing what we need to do every night, and Coach [Matt] McMahon is doing a heck of a job getting us prepared for every game.”

The Racers will be tested once more when they travel to Austin Peay State (6-14) for a rivalry game that tips off at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Winfield Dunn Center in Clarksville, Tennessee.