Story, video and photo by Murray State Athletics
The Murray State Racers made history Thursday when they posted their fourth victory in the NCAA Basketball Tournament when they took down the Marquette Golden Eagles, 83-64, at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Ja Morant made history as well by becoming the 12th player to record a triple-double in the NCAA tournament with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds.
He is now also the eighth player to compile a triple-double using points, rebounds and assists. Other player to record an NCAA tournament triple-double, according to Sports-Reference.com, including Oscar Robertson, Draymond Green, Magic Johnson, Cole Aldrich, B.H. Born, David Cain, Artis Gilmore, Gary Grant, Andre Miller, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade.
In the first half, the Racers took the early lead when they hit four of their first five attempts from the 3-point line. Tevin Brown and Shaq Buchanan each hit a pair and the Racers jumped in front 20-10 with 12:49 left in the first half.
Marquette turned the tables and made their own run to tie it at 20-20 with 9:48 left, but Brown it his third-consecutive three to put the Racers in front again 23-20 at 9:48. However, the Racers made their next nine points from the free throw line to lead Marquette 30-27 with 4:54 left when Morant hit a pair.
The Murray State lead doubled at the 4:16 mark when Morant found Brown for his fourth-straight three and a 33-27 lead. Morant ended the half by sending a perfect lob to the rim for a Devin Gilmore dunk and a buzzer 3-point to put the Racers in front at the intermission 42-35.
In the second half, it was all Racers. Murray State locked down Marquette in the second half by limiting the Golden Eagles to just field goals. Offensively for Murray State, after knocking down nine 3-pointers in the first half, they only sank one in the second. However, that did not deter the Racers from scoring as they went 17-for-32 from the floor in the half.
Murray State finished the game with a near 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio with 23 assists and just 12 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles also turned the ball over 12 times, but had just six assists.
Tevin Brown led Murray State in the game with 19 points including finishing the game at 5-for-9 from beyond-the-arc after going 4-for-4 in the first half. KJ Williams followed with 16, while Shaq Buchanan added 14 and Darnell Coward had a near double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
Murray State now advances to the second round Saturday where it will take on fourth-seeded Florida State at 5:10 p.m.