Strong first half helps Racers dispatch Hornets

Photo by Blake Sandlin/TheNews

Story by Blake Sandlin, Assistant Sports Editor

It took 15 seconds for Murray State men’s basketball to get on the board in its Tuesday matchup against Harris-Stowe State University. And once they did, they never looked back.

The Racers dismantled the Hornets 85-56 in a game that was hardly in doubt from the jump. Murray State never trailed in 40 minutes of action, stringing together a 16-2 run late in the second half while holding the Hornets to 27 first half points on the way to their commanding win over their NAIA opponent.

Head Coach Matt McMahon said his team’s first half display was paramount in securing their third-straight victory.

“Whenever you hold a team to 27 points, I don’t care who, anytime you hold someone to 27 in a half, that’s a good number,” McMahon said.

That convincing first half effort allowed McMahon to experiment with his lineup, as everyone on the Racer bench received minutes. Those reserves were able to capitalize on their limited playing time, compiling 27 bench points. McMahon said a sizable lead like the Racers exercised on Tuesday allowed him toy with his lineup and to provide some well deserved rest for his starters.

“For me, I experiment, giving other guys opportunities to play,” McMahon said. “I like to try to rest some of our guys who carry a heavy minute load. But my standards and expectations for the guys on the floor never change one bit. I coach them like it’s the national championship game.”

Three Racers reached double-figure scoring against the Hornets. The usual suspects, senior forward Terrell Miller and senior guard Jonathan Stark, recorded 18 and 15 points, respectively.

Freshman guard Ja Morant continued his stellar inaugural campaign with 15 points of his own. Through five games, Morant is averaging 10.6 PPG for Murray State.

The Hornets were led by the play of junior guard Deandre Clark, who recorded 16 points. Senior guard Dwane Miner added 10 points in the loss that moved Harris-Stowe State to 3-4.

The win moves the Racers to an impressive 4-1 start as they continue to tread through their non-conference schedule. They’ll remain home through the weekend to welcome Florida A&M in a game that tips-off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the CFSB Center.