Tennessee State shocks Murray State, topples nation's last unbeaten
Murray, KY – And then there were none.
Murray State, the last undefeated NCAA Division I team, fell to Tennessee State, 72-68, on Thursday. The ninth-ranked Racers (23-1, 11-1 OVC) had already clinched the best start to a season in conference history.
The Tigers (16-10, 9-4) have won six in a row and were led by Robert Covington's 17 points. Kenny Moore added 16 points, Patrick Miller had 12 and Jordan Cyphers finished with 10.
Murray State, which had won 18 straight at home, got a game-high 31 from Isaiah Canaan and 10 from Donte Poole.
The game was knotted at 62 with 4 1/2 minutes to play, but Tennessee State closed with a 10-6 run to clinch the improbable victory.
Covington broke the tie with a three-pointer and Miller finished a layup to make it 67-62. The Racers followed with three straight behind a bucket from Latreze Mushatt and a free throw from Canaan, before Covington scored in close for a 69-65 lead.
Canaan answered with a three-point play, pulling the Racers within one, 69-68, but their perfect season fell by the wayside when he lost the ball near the top of the key with two seconds to play. Moore hit a pair of foul shots and Cyphers went 1-of-2 from the line to cap the scoring.
The Racers had opened and then closed the first half with a pair if 7-0 runs. A dunk by Ed Daniel, a layup by Poole and a three-pointer by Jewuan Long had them up early, but the Tigers fought back, going ahead 18-17 on Miller's jumper. It was 33-33 less than two minutes before the break when Ivan Aska hit a jumper, Mushatt scored inside and Canaan made a trey for a 40-33 Murray State advantage.
Canaan scored the first five points after the break, extending the Racers' lead to 12. They were still up double digits, 53-43, when the Tigers surged ahead with a 13-2 burst. Moore scored six straight during the run and Kellen Thornton capped it with a bucket, making it 56-55 and triggering the hard- fought finish.
The Racers had already clinched the best start to a season in Ohio Valley Conference history, surpassing the Western Kentucky team which began the 1953-54 campaign 21-0...The Racers' 18-game home win streak had dated back to January of 2011...Murray State leads the all-time series, 46-16...Canaan notched his fourth 30-point performance of the season.