Canaan leads Murray State over Austin Peay

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) After hitting his first few shots, Isaiah Canaan was confident he was going to have a good night.

Canaan scored 35 points to keep No. 19 Murray State unbeaten with an 87-75 victory Saturday night over Austin Peay. He scored the first 16 points for the Racers (16-0, 4-0), who tied the best start in school history - matching the 1935-36 squad. He hit seven of his eight 3-point attempts.

''I saw the first two go in and my eyes lit up,'' Canaan said. ''I started feeling like I could make the next shot and I had a lot of open shots so I took them and my teammates did a good job of finding me and I was knocking them down and was glad that the shots I took was falling.''

The game marked the 112th meeting between the conference rivals in a series dating back 71 years in which Murray State leads 71-41.

Murray State, under the direction of first year coach Steve Prohm, hit eight 3s in the first half to build a 17-point lead before the Governors rallied with an 11-1 run shortly before the end of the half.

''(Isaiah's) done this before,'' Prohm said. ''I chased him everywhere in AAU basketball-he's a special player, he's a gamer, he plays big, the bigger the game the better he plays. The first half, he was tremendous. I think he's one of the elite guards in the country.''

Ed Daniel had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Racers, who are one of three unbeaten teams left this season. Syracuse and Baylor also haven't lost.

''I knew Austin Peay would be extremely ready and I thought they played extremely well,'' Prohm said. ''I thought they did play well. When we could have punched them and knocked them out they responded each and every way making a play on both ends of the floor at times but we were able to withstand the runs and our goal was to try and get (the lead) back up to 10 and we were finally able to get it.''

Josh Terry scored 16 points to lead the Governors (3-13, 0-3).

''Nobody likes to lose and we're blessed to be 16-0,'' Canaan said. ''We feel good, we think we deserve it with all the hard work we put in over the summer and all the hard work we continue to put in everyday at practice going at each other, pushing each other and trying to push each one to the next level because we know there are going to be games like this on the road when we have to come together and fight to the end of the clock.''

Less than 5 minutes into the second half Donte Poole made back-to-back 3s, giving the Racers a 12-point lead. Austin Peay fought back and trailed by three before Daniel hit a free throw to extend the lead with 5:26 left.

His basket made it 80-73 with 1:48 to seal the victory.

In the last minute of the game an intentional foul was called on Melvin Baker and Daniel, who came up from the hard foul smiling, took the line and went 1-2.

With 45.2 seconds on the clock the Murray State fans overtook the Dunn Center with chants of 'Undefeated' as Murray State players encouraged the cheers with pumping their arms in the air.

''It was an unbelievable atmosphere,'' Prohm said. ''There was an 'undefeated' chant at the end of the game with about 45 seconds left and it was great but as a coach I thought it was a little early.''

Austin Peay will face Eastern Kentucky next Thursday while Murray State will host Jacksonville State the same night.

''They've got a terrific basketball team,'' Governors coach Dave Loos said. ''Of course Canaan in the first half was incredible - I've never seen anybody shoot any better than that. We tried several different things, we had success in the second half in trapping him and we intended to do that in the first half but weren't as effective. They've got a very good team, I was very impressed.''