NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee State was desperate for its first Division I victory. Murray State needed to keep its push alive for a berth into the 2020 OVC Tournament.
Desperation won on Saturday night, as the Racers fell to the Tigers 96-81 at the Gentry Center. "You talk about a bunch of kids having adversity throughout the year," noted MSU coach Rechelle Turner, on TSU. "Their head coach has been gone since November. They've put together a staff that's done an outstanding job. And part of me is proud of them. To go through that, and be able to come out and play as well as they did tonight?
"But it's my job to have the kids ready. We weren't ready. We haven't won a conference game on the road. Something about things that we're doing on the road aren't working out for us."
Strong 3-point shooting in the first quarter (7-for-14) didn't translate for the remaining three frames, as the Racers went 5-for-23 the rest of the way against TSU's zone.
And when the Tigers brought pressure midcourt, the Racers didn't handle it well - committing 24 turnovers that TSU turned into 25 points. Tack on the Tigers' 38 free throw attempts to MSU's 20, and the basketball equation just didn't balance in the Racers' favor.
Sophomores Alexis Burpo (22 points, eight rebounds), Macey Turley (15 points, five assists), Lex Mayes (14 points, four rebounds, three assists) and Raegan Blackburn (16 points, four 3-pointers) combined for 67 points in the loss.
But Turley and freshman Macie Gibson (four points, nine rebounds, three assists) both fouled out by midway through the fourth quarter - severely limiting MSU's comeback attempt.
TSU, meanwhile, got 29 points and 12 rebounds from junior forward Jaden Wrightsell; 22 points and seven assists (with no turnovers) from freshman guard Deaja Richardson; and 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists from sophomore guard Jazmine Young.
Tennessee St. 96, Murray St. 81
Murray St. 27 11 19 24 - 81
Tennessee St. 24 21 22 29 - 96
RACERS - Alexis Burpo 22, Raegan Blackburn 16, Macey Turley 15, Lex Mayes 14, Laci Hawthorne 8, Macie Gibson 4, Ashley Hunter 2.
FG: 27-68. 3PT: 12-37 (Turley 4, Blackburn 4, Mayes 2, Gibson, Burpo). FT: 15-20. Reb: 46. PF: 25. Ast: 16. TO: 24. Blk: 1. Stl: 5. Record: 11-12 (4-8).
TIGERS - Jaden Whitesell 29, Jazmine Young 22, Deaja Richardson 22, Taylor Roberts 11, Andreana Wrister 10, Breannah McCullah 2.
FG: 30-64. 3PT: 6-16 (Richardson 3, Wrister, Young, Roberts). FT: 30-38. Reb: 32 (Wrightsell 12). PF: 16. Ast: 16. TO: 14. Blk: 2. Stl: 13. Record: 3-19 (1-11).