Murray State guard Chico Carter Jr. heads to the hoop against Eastern Illinois on Thursday in Murray.

With its shots going in over half the time and Murray State's shooting touch turning as cold as this week's temperatures, Eastern Illinois proved its January success against the Racers in Charleston was no fluke.

Marcus Johnson set the pace for the visiting Panthers with 19 points in a 68-59 triumph at the CFSB Center in Murray on Thursday night. EIU completed the season sweep over MSU following a 74-68 win on Jan. 7.

Jordan Skipper-Brown also played a strong game for the Panthers with 14 points on top of 10 rebounds. It was on the glass where Eastern had its biggest early success in this Ohio Valley Conference showdown. The Panthers outrebounded the Racers 21-8 in the first half, preventing several second chances after some uncharacteristic MSU misses.

Mack Smith led Eastern in the first half with all nine of his points. all from behind the 3-point arc. The Panthers led 30-20 late in the half, when the Racers started to rally. Tevin Brown and KJ Williams made some layups, Chico Carter Jr. hit a pair of free throws and Williams beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer from near the center of the arc.

The Racers trailed 31-29 at the break and tied it on a Williams reverse just seconds into the second half. After that, Eastern took over for good. Johnson scored EIU's first five points of the second half off a layup and a long distance jumper.

Murray got as close as two, but back-to-back dunks from Johnson and Skipper-Brown solidified the momentum in Eastern's favor. With less than two minutes to go, Murray could have cut the deficit to six, but Carter missed a short jumper and EIU's Josiah Wallace nailed a fade-away jumper from far behind the arc for a 62-51 edge with 1:19 left.

Deang Deang came off the bench to get 10 points for EIU (8-16, 5-12 OVC). Carter topped all scorers with 21 points , followed by Racer teammates Williams (15) and Brown (11).

Murray State (12-10, 9-8) will try to get back on the winning track on Saturday against SIU Edwardsville at 7:30 p.m. in Murray.


E. Illinois 68, Murray St. 59

E. ILLINOIS (8-16) — Friday 3-6 0-2 6, Skipper-Brown 6-7 2-2 14, Johnson 7-9 3-4 18, Mac.Smith 3-6 0-0 9, Wallace 3-10 0-0 7, Dixon 1-2 1-2 3, Abraham 0-2 1-2 1, Deang 4-5 0-0 10. Totals 27-47 7-12 68.

MURRAY ST. (12-10) — Robinson 2-5 0-0 4, Williams 6-15 2-2 15, Bostick 0-2 0-0 0, Brown 5-13 0-0 11, Carter 8-17 3-4 21, Hill 2-3 0-0 4, D.Smith 1-4 0-0 2, Gilmore 0-1 0-0 0, McMullen 1-1 0-1 2. Totals 25-61 5-7 59.

Halftime—E. Illinois 31-29. 3-Point Goals—E. Illinois 7-11 (Mac.Smith 3-4, Deang 2-3, Johnson 1-1, Wallace 1-2, Abraham 0-1), Murray St. 4-21 (Carter 2-6, Williams 1-5, Brown 1-7, Bostick 0-1, Hill 0-1, D.Smith 0-1). Rebounds—E. Illinois 31 (Skipper-Brown 10), Murray St. 25 (Robinson, Williams 8). Assists—E. Illinois 8 (Johnson, Abraham 2), Murray St. 11 (Brown 5). Total Fouls—E. Illinois 10, Murray St. 15. A—1,260 (8,602).

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