Racers “still have control of own destiny”

Kelli O'Toole

Story by Bryan Edwards, Staff writer

Murray State honored seniors Bryce Jones, Damarcus Croaker and Gee McGhee before the game with a short ceremony on the court.

Following the ceremony, the Racers opened play against the Eastern Illinois Panthers in an OVC West matchup.

Kelli O’Toole

The Panthers defeated Murray State 82-65, keeping the Panthers’ hopes for qualifying in the OVC Tournament alive.

Jones said the team will bounce back from the loss. The Racers are back into a three-way tie with Southeast Missouri State and UT Martin.

“We still have control of our own destiny,” Jones said. “We’re tied for first place, and we can still get that bye in the tournament. We’ll be all right.”

The Panthers shot 50 percent from behind the arc in the game and were led by senior guard Demetrius McReynolds, who had a game high of 25 points, shooting 7-of-11 from three. The Panthers shot 15-of-30 from three in the game.

Head Coach Matt McMahon said McReynolds played a great game on the offensive end in the game.

“He was terrific,” McMahon said. “He hit some fantastic shots with incredible range. He was also very good on the offensive glass and hurt us with three big second-chance points.”

All three seniors started, but a minute into the game, Croaker stepped on an EIU player’s foot and injured himself. The senior guard later returned to the bench with a walking boot on his right leg.

McMahon said he is unsure if the injury will cause Croaker to miss any additional time.

“He stepped on someone’s foot and rolled it,” McMahon said. “The injury has been diagnosed as a sprained foot. I don’t know anything about the severity, and it’s very early to tell. I should know more tomorrow or Monday morning.”

The loss moves the Racers back to 14-14 on the season and 8-6 in OVC play. Next week, the Racers will play SEMO and UTM – the two teams the Racers are tied with – to determine who will win the OVC West division.

The Racers will travel for their final two games of the season, with their first stop being against SEMO at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.