OVC MEN'S HOOPS: Racers hand Colonels second-straight home loss

Time after time, the Racers patiently, calmly and effectively worked their way through EKU's relentless full-court pressure on Saturday afternoon at McBrayer Arena.

As they did, the Colonels grew more and more frustrated.

"It's tough," EKU coach A.W. Hamilton said. "You've got to get them credit. They did a really good job. They threw over our press and got into backline."

The Colonels were still able to force 14 turnovers - which was well below their season average (21) - but couldn't convert those miscues into enough offense.

Murray State (9-9, 6-7 Ohio Valley Conference) shot 52 percent from the field and pulled away late for a 76-64 win over EKU (14-4, 8-3) in the 170th meeting between the long-time rivals.

Wendell Green Jr., finished with 24 points and eight assists as the Colonels suffered a second-straight setback on their home court.

"They spread us out on the floor and made it (harder) for us to make our rotations (in the press)," Green Jr., said. "Hats off to them for scouting us and learning how to beat our press, but it was still basically on us."

The Colonels struggled to get turnovers with their signature press and simply weren't able to knock down enough shots.

EKU was 6-of-24 from three-point range and hit just 42 percent of its field goal attempts (36 percent in first half). The Colonels also got to the free throw only 10 times (6-of-10).

"They came in here and did a good job," Hamilton said. "They were very physical with us. They really sat down and guarded us and made it really hard for us to get into a rhythm offensively."

The Colonels got off to a good start.

EKU took a quick 5-0 advantage on a three-pointer by Michael Moreno.

The Racers answered with a 10-0 run and would never surrender the lead. The Colonels pulled even at 28-28 on back-to-back baskets by Green Jr., but Murray State scored the final nine points of the half.

It was just the third time this season the Colonels had more turnovers than they forced. Murray State also had 14 giveaways, but actually had more points off turnovers (20-16) than EKU.

Green Jr., helped keep the Colonels in the game in the second half. Twice a basket by the Detroit native pulled EKU within four points (47-43 and 49-45).

Green Jr., was 10-of-16 from the field with four rebounds. He has scored 20-plus points in four-straight games.

"I can't imagine there's a better freshman point guard in American than him," Hamilton said of Green Jr.

The Colonels had just six players record a point.

Tre King had 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting and added five rebounds and three blocks. Moreno had 13 points. Cooper Robb had six points and Curt Lewis and JacQuess Hobbs had two points each.

Chico Carter, Jr., had a team-best 23 points for Murray State, while KJ Williams had 18 points.

The loss keeps EKU in third place in the OVC heading into a very difficult stretch.

The Colonels will play seven road games in 14 days, starting with a trip to SIU-Edwardsville for a Monday afternoon game that reschedule because of COVID-19 issues.

After that, EKU will take on first-place Belmont (13-0) and last-place Tennessee State next weekend in Nashville.

"They are going to bounce back. We've just got to figure it out," Hamilton said.

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