COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Isaiah Canaan scored 18 points and No. 14 Murray State beat Tennessee Tech 69-64 on Saturday night to finish the season undefeated on the road for the first time in school history.
The victory capped the best regular season ever for the Racers (28-1, 15-1 Ohio Valley Conference), who were the last Division I team to lose this season. Their 28 victories surpassed the 2009-10 team, which won 27 games in the regular season and finished with 31 victories overall.
The Racers are one of three Division I teams with only one loss.
Tennessee Tech (18-12, 9-7) didn't make it easy for Murray State, which clinched the OVC regular-season title on Feb. 15. The Golden Eagles led 60-59 with 4:54 to play when Bassey Inameti fouled Canaan with the Racers already in the double bonus.
Canaan hit both free throws, and Murray State followed with four more to take control of the game.
Jud Dillard drove the floor and dunked for the Golden Eagles with a minute left to cut the Racers' lead to 65-64, but Tennessee Tech didn't score again.
Kevin Murphy led Tennessee Tech with 26 points, going 7 of 12 from 3-point range. Dillard added 12 points and Zac Swansey had 11.
Murray State led by as many as six early in the first half and held a 12-8 lead after a 3-pointer by Canaan.
Zach Bailey hit the next shot, a 3-pointer for Tennessee Tech. The Racers' Latreze Mushatt was called for a charge, and Inameti hit a jumper to put the Golden Eagles up 13-12, giving them their first lead of the game.
The teams had recorded four ties and traded the lead three times by the time Murphy began a shooting clinic for Tennessee Tech. Murphy hit a jumper and a pair of 3s as part of an 11-2 run that put the Golden Eagles up 27-23 with 4:34 left in the first half.
Murphy, second on Tennessee Tech's career scoring list with 1,957 points, hit another 3 from the wing with 1:37 left before halftime to push the lead to six points. He finished the half with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The Golden Eagles went 7 for 10 from 3-point range in the first half, but only 3 of 9 after that.