Racers begin second season tonight in OVC Tournament


WPSD Sports

The Murray State Racers start the second season when they host the Tennessee State Tigers in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Regional Special Events Center.

The game marks the 14th straight season that MSU has hosted a quarterfinal game, that is every season since the OVC began the practice of the top-4 seeds hosting a game in 1997. The Racers are 11-2 in these games and defeated Tennessee State in the same game a year ago.

The Racers are looking to advance to the OVC Tournament semi-finals for the 19th time in the last 21 years. The Racers did so a season ago, but lost to Austin Peay. MSU leads the OVC with 57 all-time wins in the tournament.

The Racers and Tigers have met twice this season with the Racers winning both. The first meeting was at the Gentry Center Jan. 7 where MSU took an 80-59 win which was followed by a 76-54 win at home Feb. 4. In the two games, MSU has shot 48 percent from the field while holding the Tigers to 35 percent. From three-point range, MSU has a 42 to 31 percent advantage. The Racers' have had their usual balanced scoring against the Tigers. B.J. Jenkins averages 11 points, while MSU gets 9.5 from Tony Easley and nine points each from Ivan Aska, Isaiah Canaan and Danero Thomas.

The Racers are chasing history with their current 27 wins which is two shy of the team record 29 set by the 1997-98 team.

This will be the final season that the OVC will use the current format. Starting next season, the tournament will have all eight teams in one place, the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. This season will be the final for Bridgestone Arena (formerly known as the Sommet Center). The bracket will also give byes to the semi-finals for the 1 and 2 seed and a bye to the quarterfinals for the 3 and 4 seed. The same format and site will be for the women's tourney too.