MURRAY -- Tevin Brown. Jaiveon Eaves. Anthony Smith. Demond Robinson. All were in double figures during Monday's 105-64 exhibition win over Martin Methodist at the CFSB Center in Murray.
But it was sophomore forward KJ Williams who had the early-and-often impact, logging 20 points on 9-for-17 shooting with nine rebounds, one assist, one block and one 3-pointer in just 18 minutes -- easily taking the most shots for the Racers, and by a wide margin.
"I'm going to try to help the team out, scoring wise, (more) from last year where I was a dump-down guy," Williams said. "I was scoring, but not as much. But there's a big emphasis on me scoring more this year."
He had 12 points and eight boards by the half, and canned his triple with 14:57 left in the second half to give MSU a 64-42 lead.
"If (KJ) gets good shots, I want him shooting as many as he can," noted fifth-year MSU coach Matt McMahon.
"I thought he missed some around the goal that he will normally make. So I thought he did a really nice job doing the work without the basketball to get good position down in the post. I want him shooting the ball every time he can in there.
"I thought the 3 that he took in the second half was an outstanding shot. He had great footwork.
Good shot preparation. I thought the two 3s he took in the first half were rushed and not what we were looking for in that moment.
"But I think KJ is a terrific player who's only going to keep getting better."
Early run pushes MSU
The Redhawks opened up a very early 6-3 advantage, thanks to back-to-back triples from Shondell Jackson (17 points).
This, of course, prompted McMahon into a timeout before the first media stoppage, and the Racers responded rapidly -- to the tune of a 22-2 run from the 17:23 mark to the 12:38 mark.
Martin Methodist went 1-for-7 during the stretch, while Brown made three of his four 3-pointers.
"I'm a big believer in defending that 3-point line," McMahon said.
"And we gave up a 3 early. And then the second one was just kind of a loose ball scrum. But they hit back-to-back 3s, and I just wanted to have a discussion to remind them of the urgency of doing what we need to do defensively there."
Martin Methodist wound up finishing 5-for-26 from the arc for the game, including 3-for-23 for the remaining 37 minutes.
Point guard a question?
Maybe not. The Racers got 28 assists on 41 made baskets, with freshman DaQuan Smith (5), junior college transfer Jason Holliday (6) and freshman Chico Carter Jr. (6) combining for 17 of them with just five total turnovers.
Eaves also chipped in three assists with zero turnovers, while the continued battle of D. Smith, Carter Jr. and Noah Kamba (9:30, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 rebounds) for the lead point guard role is still in motion.
"Every position is going to be a point of emphasis for us," McMahon said.
"Point guard is obviously very important, but we've got to get better at every position. At our wing. In our frontcourt. I thought all three did a lot of good things. You look at Chico: six assists, no turnovers. Thought he played a really good floor game. Didn't shoot it well (3-for-9), but those are shots I want him taking. He's a very good shooter, and I believe he'll step up and make those. I thought DaQuan did a little bit of everything for us, and then Noah came in and gave us some really good floor minutes -- especially having to attack a zone (1-1-3) that he hadn't seen yet."
MURRAY STATE 105, MARTIN METHODIST 64
Martin Methodist 28 36 -- 64
Murray State 51 54 -- 105
RACERS -- KJ Williams 20, Tevin Brown 16, Demond Robinson 16, Anthony Smith 15, Jaiveon Eaves 13, Chico Carter Jr. 9, Devin Gilmore 7, DaQuan Smith 6, Rod Thomas 2, Jason Holliday 1.
FG: 41-75. 3PT: 9-25 (Brown 4, Eaves 2, D. Smith, Williams, Carter Jr.). FT: 14-25. Reb: 54. PF: 19. Ast: 28. TO: 16.
REDHAWKS -- Shondell Jackson 17, Felix Hayes 11, Sam Martin 10, Aaron Shambry 8, Darrin Jenkins 7, Octavian Arnold 5, Adarian Hudson 2, Bailey Talley 2, Antares Gwyn 2.
FG: 21-64. 3PT: 5-26 (Jackson 3, Hayes, Arnold). FT: 17-20. Reb: 30. PF: 20. Ast: 8. TO: 19.