UT-Martin-Murray St. Preview

The Associated Press

The 12-0 record is nice, but Murray State coach Steve Prohm wants his team to be ready for the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference season.

A matchup with struggling Tennessee-Martin could get the Racers off to a good start.

Looking for their best start in 76 years, the No. 22 Racers go for their 22nd consecutive home win against the Skyhawks on Wednesday night when both teams open conference play.

After a 76-72 victory at then-No. 21 Memphis on Dec. 11, Murray State cracked the Top 25 for the first time since the end of 1997-98. After defeating Lipscomb by 24 on Thursday, the Racers matched their best start since 1950-51 with a 66-53 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday.

"I really wanted to finish our non-conference season strong and now take tomorrow off and put all our attention on Martin and getting into a new swing of things and that's Ohio Valley Conference play," Prohm said.

With a 13th consecutive home win, the two-time reigning OVC regular-season champs would have their best overall start since the 1935-36 team opened with a program-record 16 consecutive victories.

The Racers appear to have a good shot at moving closer to that mark as they go for their sixth consecutive win over the Skyhawks (3-10).

After posting a 66-54 victory at Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 21 of last season, Murray State hit 13 of 18 3-pointers in a 92-75 home win over the Skyhawks on Jan. 29.

The Racers remained perfect at home in the series and improved to 38-3 all-time against Tennessee-Martin behind reserve guard Isaiah Canaan, who scored 24 points and went 6 for 6 from 3-point range.

Canaan enters Wednesday's contest as the league's second-highest scorer at 19.3 points per game and biggest long range threat at 48.1 percent from beyond the arc. He scored 21 points and went 6 of 10 on 3s Saturday.

"A lot of teams have tried to take me away and Arkansas State tried to lose me a little bit so I made them hurt,'' said Canaan, 20 points shy of becoming the 38th player in program history with 1,000. "We had to get going sooner or later and once I saw the first one go through, I felt like I wasn't going to miss anymore.''

Canaan has averaged 14.5 points and gone 10 of 15 from beyond the arc in four games versus Tennessee-Martin.

Skyhawks forward Myles Taylor will face the Racers for the first time after being named the league's freshman player of the week Monday.

Taylor had a team-best 19 points in an 82-76 loss to IPFW on Sunday and is averaging 20.0 over the last three games.

Sophomore guard Mike Liabo is averaging a team-best 14.3 points, but the Skyhawks have dropped five of six - the lone win coming against NAIA team Bethel last Tuesday.

Tennessee-Martin has lost both of its games against ranked opponents this season by a combined 61 points.

Murray State's average margin of victory in five home games is 24.6.

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