Murray State’s Chico Carter goes up for a shot against Eastern Illinois’ Sammy Friday (20) during Thursday’s game at Charleston, Ill. Carter scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first half as the Racers fell, 74-68.

CHARLESTON. Ill — Road woes continued for Murray State, as turnovers and late cold shooting added up to a 74-68 defeat at Eastern Illinois on Thursday night.

The Racers held double-digit leads in both halves and led by as much as 13 points midway in the second half, but much like last season’s visit to Lantz Arena, collapsed late in the contest.

“We’re in a tough situation,” Murray State coach Matt McMahon told the Racer Sports Network after the Racers fell to 4-6 overall and 1-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. “After the game, I talked to the players about sticking together and continuing to battle and staying as positive as we can, because obviously the disappointment level is at an all-time high.”

Things looked good most of the game for Murray State, as the Racers built a 10-point lead midway through the first half (18-8) and led 38-33 at halftime behind Chico Carter’s 13 points.

The Racers used an 11-0 run early in the second frame for a 49-37 advantage with 16:21 left, and led 53-40 on a Devin Gilmore layup with 12:07 remaining.

But Eastern Illinois (5-5, 2-1) chipped away at the lead while fashioning a 14-5 run, taking the lead for good on a Kashawn Charles bucket with 1:55 left. A Marvin Johnson dunk and a pair of free throws from Josiah Wallace made it 70-64 with 40 seconds left and the Racers could get no closer than four points behind the rest of the way.

“I was pleased the first 30 minutes,” McMahon said. “I thought we played more like we’re capable, played with a lot of energy, a lot of passion, I thought we were better at the defensive end of the floor.

“What really hurt is KJ (Williams) getting into some foul trouble, because he was doing a nice job of scoring the ball in the post. But just in the second half, as you look at the last eight, 10 minutes of the game, a lot of missed opportunities for us offensively, and even more so that led to easy baskets for them after they took the ball from us.”

Murray State committed 14 of its 23 turnovers in the second half. For the game, EIU scored 28 points off those turnovers.

The Panthers committed 14 miscues for the game.

Johnson led the Panthers with 22 points, and Wallace had 18 and a game-high 10 rebounds.

After his fast start, Carter scored only two points in the second half but still led the Racers with 15 points on 5-for-9 field goal shooting, including 3-for-3 on 3-pointers.

Williams added 13 points and Tevin Brown 11.

Demond Robinson grabbed a team-best eight rebounds, as Murray State won the battle of the boards, 29-28.

The Racers fell to 0-5 in road games this season.

They had a 27-point lead last season at EIU before falling 63-60.

E. Illinois 74, Murray St. 68MURRAY ST. (4-6) — Robinson 3-6 2-2 8, Williams 5-7 3-4 13, Brown 5-13 0-0 11, Hill 2-7 0-0 6, D.Smith 3-8 0-0 9, Gilmore 3-5 0-0 6, Carter 5-9 2-2 15, Whitley 0-2 0-0 0, Kirby 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 7-8 68.

E. ILLINOIS (5-5) — Friday 2-5 0-0 4, Skipper-Brown 2-4 0-0 4, Charles 3-6 0-0 6, Johnson 9-18 2-2 22, Wallace 6-11 6-6 18, Mac.Smith 3-6 0-0 7, Dixon 1-2 1-2 3, Abraham 2-3 0-2 6, Deang 1-3 0-0 2, Diarra 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 30-62 9-12 74.

Halftime—Murray St. 38-33. 3-Point Goals—Murray St. 9-22 (Carter 3-3, D.Smith 3-5, Hill 2-5, Brown 1-8, Whitley 0-1), E. Illinois 5-18 (Abraham 2-3, Johnson 2-6, Mac.Smith 1-4, Wallace 0-2, Charles 0-3). Rebounds—Murray St. 29 (Robinson 8), E. Illinois 28 (Wallace 10). Assists—Murray St. 17 (Brown 5), E. Illinois 14 (Johnson, Wallace 4). Total Fouls—Murray St. 12, E. Illinois 13.

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