Gilmore soars as Racers move to 8-0 in conference

EDWARD MARLOWE | The Sun

Murray State junior forward Devin Gilmore had 13 points, 10 rebounds and perfect shooting in 22 minutes of Saturday's 76-64 win over Tennessee State at the CFSB Center in Murray.

MURRAY -- Devin Gilmore had every reason to smile on Saturday night.

Playing mostly for Murray State senior forward Anthony Smith -- who was saddled with foul trouble -- the Racer junior forward squeezed out 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting with 10 rebounds, two steals, one assist and no turnovers in 22 minutes, helping push MSU to a 76-64 win over Tennessee State at the CFSB Center.

That's now an 8-0 start in Ohio Valley Conference play, nine-straight wins since an OT loss at Evansville, 16 straight regular season conference wins stretching back to the 2018-19 season, and 16 consecutive wins at home.

Ten of Gilmore's points and six of his boards came in the second half, as the Tigers (12-9, 4-4 OVC) tried to intermittently press the Racers into costly turnovers.

Spoiler: it didn't work often, as Gilmore was either initiating the transition on a rebound, or finishing the transition with an authoritative dunk or layup.

"I just had to pick up the slack," Gilmore said. "(Anthony) had a good game Thursday (13 points, 15 rebounds), and he didn't have too good of a game today. We have to play together, and I had to pick up his slack. I was in the right spot at the right time."

"Huge," added fifth-year MSU coach Matt McMahon. "It wasn't (Devin's) night on Thursday. It was Anthony's night. But we need everybody, and that's what I like about our team. We've got good balance. Contributions from a lot of different people.

"Anthony had to battle the foul trouble, and I thought Devin stepped up and played great. He was active. He finished plays at the back end of their press. Got to the offensive glass (three times). Was really a big key in us winning the game."

After a strong opening run, in which MSU freshman forward Demond Robinson scored six of his 10 points, TSU grabbed a 19-11 lead with 9:09 left in the first half -- as the Racers committed four turnovers and went 1-for-8 from the arc in a tough stretch.

From there, however, the Racers went 7-for-15 from the arc, and with freshman point guard Chico Carter Jr. battling illness, freshman point guard DaQuan Smith rattled off eight assists and just one turnover -- adding 10 points on 3-for-9 from the arc.

Part of the comeback was shouldered on the defense. TSU shot 51% from the field (25-for-49) and 6-for-12 from the arc, but committed 19 turnovers. MSU turned those mistakes into 19 points.

"We got enough stops," McMahon said. "And I think, being able to force those turnovers led to some easy baskets for us. Was a really important part of the game. All and all, thrilled with a great win."

Joining Gilmore, Smith and Robinson in double digits for MSU: sophomore Tevin Brown (22 points, three assists, three steals, 4-for-7 from the arc) and sophomore KJ Williams (12 points, three rebounds, 8-for-8 at the stripe).

MURRAY ST, 76, TENNESSE E ST. 64

TENNESSEE ST. (12-9)

Littlejohn 6-11 0-0 15, Freeman 3-8 0-0 6, Johnson 3-6 0-0 6, Marshall 6-8 0-2 15, Washington 3-6 1-2 7, J.Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Egbuta 2-4 6-9 10, Kone 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 25-49 8-15 64.

MURRAY ST. (15-5)

D.Smith 3-11 1-1 10, T.Brown 6-10 6-8 22, Eaves 2-9 2-2 7, Gilmore 6-6 1-2 13, Williams 2-6 8-8 12, Robinson 5-7 0-1 10, A.Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Holliday 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 18-22 76.

Halftime: Murray St. 32-29. 3-Point Goals_Tennessee St. 6-12 (Marshall 3-4, Littlejohn 3-5, J.Brown 0-1, Freeman 0-1, Washington 0-1), Murray St. 8-23 (T.Brown 4-7, D.Smith 3-9, Eaves 1-5, Williams 0-2). Rebounds: Tennessee St. 22 (Johnson, J.Brown, Egbuta 4), Murray St. 28 (Gilmore 10). Assists: Tennessee St. 11 (Littlejohn 5), Murray St. 19 (D.Smith 8). Total Fouls: Tennessee St. 21, Murray St. 13. A: 4,925 (8,602).

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