The Murray State Racers used some lock-down defense to get a 67-59 road victory Thursday over the SIUE Cougars at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Ill.
The Racers (10-9) improved to 4-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference and pushed to a two-game lead in the OVC West Division. MSU scored back-to-back road wins for the first time this season.
Terrell Miller was a rebound shy of his fourth-straight double-double as he also scored 18 points. Jonathan Stark
added 16 points and five assists, while Damarcus Croaker
scored 11 points and Bryce Jones
added 10 points.
The Racers had a tenuous 30-28 halftime lead and saw the Cougars make it a one-point game with 15:14 left.
MSU answered with an 8-0 run that included back-to-back threes from Stark and Jones for a 49-39 lead with 10:35 left.
The Racers put the game away by making 10-of-14 from the free throw line in the final 34 seconds.
MSU now leads the all-time series with SIUE 16-3 and have won the last six games. SIUE comes to the CFSB Center Feb. 16 where MSU is 10-1 all-time against the Cougars. The game will air on ESPNU.
The Racers are above the 500-mark for the first time since they were 2-1 and have won five of their last six games.
MSU has won back-to-back road games for the first time this season.
Stark has hit at least one 3-pointer in all 19 games. He was 2-of-3 tonight.
MSU was outscored 14-4 in the first half from the free throw line, but reversed that in the second half and outscored the Cougars 13-4.
MSU played outstanding defense and forced SIUE into 20 turnovers, one more than the 19 field goals they scored. MSU held the Cougars to 34 percent from the field (19-of-55) and 15 percent from 3-point range (3-of-20)
Miller had quite the week for the Racers in road wins at Eastern Illinois and SIUE. He hit 59 percent from the field (13-of-22), 67 percent from the 3-point line (4-of-6) and 67 percent from the free throw line (6-of-9). He averaged 18 points and 11.5 rebounds.
The Racers come back home to play at the CFSB Center for the first time in 2017 when they host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels Thursday in a 7 p.m. tip. EKU hosted Belmont tonight and lost 72-59. The Colonels are 8-12 and 1-4 in the OVC.