Wilson leads Murray State over Eastern Illinois

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 31, 2011
Not 20 minutes after his team was beaten by No. 20 Murray State, Eastern Illinois coach Mike Miller sat behind the desk of his Lantz Arena office breaking down film. He had an answer for what happened Friday night before getting deep into the action. ''We just got whipped tonight, that's all you can say,'' Miller said. ''That's what I told the guys. Sometimes, that's just how it goes. They were outstanding.'' The Racers were outstanding on both ends of the floor in a 73-40 victory. Jeremy Granger scored 12 points for the Panthers (6-6, 0-1 Ohio Valley Conference), and Alfonzo McKinnie added eight points and five rebounds. The Racers (14-0, 2-0) harassed Eastern Illinois into 12 turnovers and a season-low 27 percent (13 for 48) shooting from the field. Murray State scored 17 points off turnovers. ''We've played a little better offense and you give them credit for what they did,'' Miller said. Eastern Illinois, now 0-16 all-time against ranked teams, has lost four straight and dropped to 5-1 at home. ''If (Murray State) plays like this every night, there's going to be a lot of games in the OVC like this,'' Miller said. ''I'm not saying that as a statement, but it's going to be a fact. They're going to win 20- 30-point games if they continue playing at this level they've been playing at for a while now.'' Reserve Stacy Wilson scored a game-high 16 points to lead Murray State. Jewuan Long added 14 points for the Racers, who hit a season-high 12 3-pointers. Wilson made four from long range. ''I just had some open looks and I knocked down shots. I have to credit my teammates for getting me open,'' Wilson said. Wilson was pressed into duty early because leading scorer Isaiah Canaan picked up a pair of early fouls in the first half. But with Canaan benched, Murray State didn't experience any drop off. After Eastern Illinois took a 6-5 lead 2 minutes into the game, the Racers broke off a 29-4 run over the next 12 minutes to seize control of the game. ''That's what I was probably most pleased with,'' Murray State coach Steve Prohm said. ''For (Canaan) to go out and us to really extend the lead and go on a big run with him not on the floor was huge. Guys like Stacy Wilson made some big plays, Zay Jackson (five points, three rebounds) and then Donte (Poole) and Jewuan were very steady out there as well.'' Murray State, which entered the day as one four unbeaten teams in the country, is off to the program's best start in 75 years. The Racers' 14-0 start trails only the 1935-36 team that started 16-0. Murray State was the first ranked team to play at Lantz Arena and the Racers showed the home crowd why they were deserving of that ranking. They hit all four of their 3-point attempts during the decisive first-half run, with each 3 coming from a different player. Murray State finished 12 for 24 from behind the arc. ''They've always been a good, efficient team, but I think what separates them now is their 3-point shooting,'' Miller said. Eastern Illinois tried a little bit of everything on the defensive end to slow the Racers - both man-to-man and in a zone - but nothing worked. Murray State shot 59 percent (16 for 27) in the first half, including 6 of 10 from long range. The Racers scored 17 points off turnovers and got 32 points from their reserves - compared to just six from the Eastern Illinois bench. ''It says we're deep, we don't depend on one player,'' Wilson said. ''We've got a lot of guys that come in and help the team out and that's what I did tonight. We had a couple players get in early foul trouble and I just wanted to come in and help the team the best way I can.''
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