COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- It's a 4-0 Ohio Valley Conference start for Murray State, which grabbed an 81-69 road win on Saturday night against Tennessee Tech in the Eblen Center.

A team effort, sure. But the offensive load was lifted behind four players:

• Sophomore forward KJ Williams: 17 points, 7-for-15 shooting, four rebounds, one steal, no turnovers.

• Freshman point guard DaQuan Smith: 16 points, 6-for-10 shooting, four 3-pointers, five rebounds, two assists, no turnovers.

• Senior wing Jaiveon Eaves: 15 points, 6-for-9 shooting, one 3-pointer, three assists, two steals.

• Senior forward Anthony Smith: 14 points, 10 rebounds (six offensive), three assists, one block.

And the Racers (11-5) looked like they were going to roll out of Cookeville with a lopsided victory early in the first half. Down 7-4 after a 3-pointer from TTU's Keishawn Davidson, the Racers unfurled a 21-0 run for a 25-7 advantage -- with 3-pointers each from DaQuan Smith, Brown and Eaves coming in the spurt.

The Golden Eagles (3-14, 0-4 OVC), however, hit six of their seven first-half 3-point makes after the Racer surge -- and trailed just 36-35 at the break.

And it was TTU's massive run, 15-0, that cut it to 27-24, capped by a Jr. Clay 3-pointer.

Clay also hit a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer, part of his game-high 18-point effort.

"I was pleased with our composure," noted MSU fifth-year coach Matt McMahon. "We talked a lot at halftime about building a big lead like that. Credit to Tennessee Tech, they battled back and made it a one-point game at the half. Sometimes you go in at the break and you feel like you're down 20, and the momentum had swung in the game.

"But I thought our guys just moved forward from that, and came out and executed when we really had to in the second half, and were able to do enough to win."

The Racers shot 51.6% from the field in the next 20 minutes, including 5-for-12 from the arc, 8-for-11 from the stripe -- while committing just three turnovers.

Tech was still within 77-69 and a minute to go after a Cade Crosland triple, TTU's 11th of the night.

But MSU broke the press, and Eaves raced down the court for the slam dunk.

Tech finished the game shooting 45.8% from the arc and 45.3% from the field, but committed 17 turnovers and lost the paint battle 40-26.

And MSU came away with 14 second-chance points, while Tech had just four.

Smith, Carter together

DaQuan Smith had 11 of his 16 points in the second half, shooting 4-for-7 from the field and 3-for-5 from the arc in the final 15 minutes.

On one particular play in the second half, MSU freshman point guard Chico Carter Jr. (four points, five assists) drove into the teeth of the TTU defense, and when it collapsed, he found Smith in the left corner for a triple, and a 53-46 lead.

"Guard break downs, we work on that all the time," Smith said. "It's just part of the play."

"I thought DaQuan was just terrific tonight," added McMahon. "And I really like how DaQuan and Chico played together. That was the first time that we've used that combination. And I thought both were outstanding."

Murray St. 81, Tenn. Tech 69

MURRAY ST. (11-5)

Brown 3-9 0-1 9, D.Smith 6-10 0-0 16, A.Smith 3-7 8-10 14, Eaves 6-9 2-2 15, K.Williams 7-15 3-3 17, Carter 2-3 0-0 4, Gilmore 2-3 0-0 4, Robinson 1-4 0-0 2, Holliday 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-60 13-16 81.


Davidson 3-9 2-2 11, Clay 5-11 6-6 18, Allen 4-8 0-0 11, Crosland 2-6 0-0 6, T.Williams 3-5 1-2 7, Quest 0-2 0-0 0, Sylla 1-3 0-0 2, Golday 3-6 0-0 7, Wilkinson 3-3 0-0 6, Kuimi 0-1 1-2 1, Mav.Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Ridenour 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 10-12 69.

Halftime: Murray St. 36-35. 3-Point Goals_Murray St. 8-22 (D.Smith 4-8, Brown 3-9, Eaves 1-2, Robinson 0-1, K.Williams 0-2), Tennessee Tech 11-24 (Davidson 3-5, Allen 3-6, Clay 2-3, Crosland 2-6, Golday 1-2, Quest 0-2). Fouled Out: Wilkinson. Rebounds: Murray St. 27 (A.Smith 10), Tennessee Tech 27 (Allen 6). Assists: Murray St. 16 (Carter 5), Tennessee Tech 16 (Davidson 5). Total Fouls: Murray St. 11, Tennessee Tech 16. A: 1,106 (9,280).

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