Regardless of the outcome of Murray State’s regular-season finale, it’s been a special campaign for the 14th-ranked Racers.
Before turning their attention to the postseason, however, they have a few things left to accomplish.
They’ll look to finish undefeated on the road for the first time in school history and set a program record for regular-season victories Saturday night when they visit Tennessee Tech.
Murray State won its fourth straight with an 80-62 win at Tennessee State on Thursday, getting a measure of revenge for a 72-68 home loss to the Tigers on Feb. 9.
After avenging their only defeat, the Racers (27-1, 14-1 Ohio Valley Conference) can break a school record for regular-season wins. The 2009-10 team, which won a program-best 31 games overall, won 27 in the regular season.
They’ll also look to finish OVC play undefeated on the road for the first time since 1987-88. The Racers are 12-0 on opponents’ courts overall, having never finished with a perfect road record.
“We’ve got a good basketball team and we just want the country to continue to know that,” coach Steve Prohm said.
Since the loss to Tennessee State earlier this month, in which it shot 46.0 percent, Murray State is shooting 52.8 percent overall and 47.9 percent from 3-point range. It connected on 12 of 22 from beyond the arc Thursday.
Isaiah Canaan scored 24 points and Donte Poole added 16. The two went 6 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half as the Racers build a 45-28 lead.
“We just wanted to come out and kind of make a little push to take us into halftime,” Poole said. “It just so happened we made a couple 3s that gave us a little momentum going into the half.”
Canaan has scored at least 23 points in four of the last five games. Meanwhile, Poole is averaging 17.3 points the last three games while connecting on 11 of 19 from beyond the arc.
The senior had a career-high 28 points while Canaan added 24 in an 82-74 win against Tennessee Tech on Jan. 14. The game was tied at 57 with less than 10 minutes left before Murray State pulled away.
The Golden Eagles (18-11, 9-6) have bounced back, winning seven of 10 - including the last two. They are coming off a 77-71 victory at Coastal Carolina last Saturday.
Jud Dillard had 22 points and seven rebounds and Kevin Murphy added 21 points and nine boards. Tennessee Tech rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit, shooting 60.0 percent after the break.
“It’s big for us,” guard Zac Swansey said. “We’re going to carry that over.”
Murray State managed to limit Murphy’s damage when the teams met last month. The senior leads the conference with 20.4 points per game and had 19 against the Racers, but shot 7 of 20 and had just two points in the final 10:30.
The Golden Eagles enter the regular-season finale in a three-way tie for third place in the OVC. The top four finishers earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Since Tennessee Tech hasn’t beaten a ranked team since getting past then-No. 15 Southern Mississippi in 1990, that means the team might be concerned with whether Morehead State and Southeast Missouri State win.