12/10 Bidwell's Blog: Murray State odds and ends
Murray State still has the attention of one AP voter and Isaiah Canaan continues to be nearly automatic at the end of the first half.
As Murray State has the week off for finals before they get Western Kentucky Sunday, here are some odds and ends from Racer camp:
- After wins over Bethel and Evansville, the Racers are now 7-1 on the year -- but still not gaining any more steam in the AP Poll. The only AP voter with the Racers on his ballot this week is, once again, Ron Morris from 'The State' in Columbia, SC. He's got the Racers at #22.
- Isaiah Canaan did it again on Saturday -- scoring in the closing seconds of the first half against Evansville. If it feels like that's something he does a lot, it's because he does. If you go back to last season's game with Eastern Kentucky, Murray has played 27 games. In those 27 games, Canaan has had nine chances to score in the final ten seconds of the first half -- and he's done it eight times. I find that pretty amazing considering it's not as if it's a lock the Racers will even have the last shot of the half. In those final second opportunities, he's gone 7-of-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for a total of 17 points. The only time he failed to score was when he turned it over against Auburn in Charleston. Both times he missed shots, he ended up with his own rebound and then scored. He is an incredibly efficient scorer, but he's nearly automatic when he has the ball at the end of the half.
- Ed Daniel continues to be special this season. He's the first Racer to have six-straight double-doubles since Vincent Rainey in 1997. He's averaging 12.1 rebounds per game this year, which is good for fourth in the country -- 13.1 RPG is #1. He has been an animal of the boards this year and, if he can stay healthy, there is no reason he can't be #1 before the year is out.
- In the last 15 years, Murray State has shot 30 or more three-pointers just ten times. Of those ten instances, two came came within a two-week stretch earlier this year against St. John's and Lipscomb. Between Canaan and Wilson and Fields, the Racers were an amazingly trigger-happy bunch. It was hard to argue with the results, considering through the Lipscomb game they were shooting close to 40% from beyond the arc. Shooting that many threes can be a slippery slope because you simply can't rely on it being there every night, especially when the games matter most. In their final three games of last season against Tennessee State, Colorado State and Marquette, the Racers were a combined 13-for-56 from three-point range. That's a smidge north of 23%. With that said, the reins seemed to have been pulled in a bit as of late. They shot 19 against Bethel and just 14 against Evansville. Daniel has shown his game is on another level this year. It's tough to for him to dominate inside when the ball never even gets to him. In the last two games, getting the ball inside seems to have been more of a priority and that is only going to help this team moving forward.
- Brandon Garrett had a career game at Evansville with 16 points and eight rebounds. You have to wonder if the post-game conversation with Steve Prohm was "Good game, Brandon. Now we need you do that again." If this team is going to be special again this year, Garrett can't be a one-hit wonder. Garrett can benefit from all the double-teams Daniel will see this season in the paint. Daniel is such a good passer that he will find Garrett. From there, it's Garrett's job to finish.
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