Recap: Murray State vs. Colorado State
Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Isaiah Canaan scored 15 points and Donte Poole added 13, as Murray State used a big second-half run to open its NCAA Tournament with a 58-41 victory over Colorado State.
The Racers (31-1), champions of the Ohio Valley Conference, were rewarded for an incredible season with a sixth seed in the West Region and will next take on Marquette in Saturday's third round.
"It always feels good to get a great win against a good opponent in an NCAA Tournament," said Canaan. "We got the same mind frame going into the next round, try to take one game at a time. We came out victorious tonight, and we're going to go and get ready for the next opponent."
Murray State won its first 23 games and was the last unbeaten team in the nation before suffering its lone loss of the season against Tennessee State in early February. The Racers followed that setback with seven more wins and beat Tennessee State twice during that span, including a narrow 54-52 win in the final of the OVC Tournament.
Pierce Hornung scored 12 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Colorado State (20-12), which earned an at-large berth out of the Mountain West Conference. Jesse Carr chipped in 11 points in defeat for the Rams.
Colorado State carried a 24-23 lead to the break, but Murray State immediately took control at the start of the second half with an 18-2 run.
Canaan's dunk in the first minute put the Racers ahead for good. He added four more points during the spurt and Poole's layup with 11 1/2 minutes remaining gave Murray State a comfortable 41-26 cushion.
The Rams went 1-for-9 from the field during Murray State's game-altering run and got as close as nine with 6 1/2 minutes left after Hornung's layup made it 43-34. The Racers, though, followed with the next six points to restore a double-digit lead and cruised the rest of the way.
Murray State committed just eight turnovers and forced 22 turnovers from Colorado State. The Rams turned it over 14 times in the second half and made just 28 percent of their shots in the final 20 minutes.
"I thought their team defense the second half was outstanding," said Colorado State head coach Tim Miles about Murray State. "Their physicality, I think, got us off the attack. Obviously, we turned the ball over 14 times in 35 possessions. Just didn't give ourselves a chance."
Colorado State opened a 10-3 lead early, but Murray State followed with a 13-3 run. Stacy Wilson's three-pointer midway through the first half gave the Racers their first lead of the game at 14-13 and Zay Jackson followed with a driving layup on the next possession.
Murray State extended the advantage to 20-15 a short time later, but the Rams came back and Carr's three-pointer capped a 9-3 burst to send Colorado State to the intermission with a 24-23 lead.
"It wasn't a pretty first half both ways," Murray State head coach Steve Prohm said. "I thought the difference in the game was we really tried to speed them up in the second half. I thought we did a great job of that."Game Notes
Canaan made just 4-of-13 shots for Murray State, which shot 39.2 percent and held Colorado State to just 33.3 percent from the field...Poole injured his nose and may have had it broken...Hornung's rebound total matched a career best. He notched his sixth career double-double...The Racers improved to 3-14 all-time in NCAA Tournament play...Colorado State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 and fell to 3-10 all-time...This was the first all-time meeting between the schools.