After loss, No. 9 Murray St. must regroup quickly

Murray State coach Steve Prohm wishes he could take back one

thing he said following the ninth-ranked Racers’ first loss of the

season.

”We’re having an amazing run is what I would’ve loved to have

said instead of `we had,”’ Prohm told The Associated Press on

Friday. ”We’re 23-1. We’re in first place in our conference. We’re

ranked in the top 10 in the country in two different polls.

”We’re in the top 50 in RPI. We’re having an amazing run, and

we’ve got a lot more basketball to play.”

Prohm said his challenge following Thursday night’s 72-68 loss

to Tennessee State is to lift up his disappointed team quickly. The

Racers play Austin Peay (9-17, 6-6 Ohio Valley Conference) on

Saturday night.

”The games come quick, so you’ve got to learn from it, get

better and be ready to play because you don’t want to bring one

loss to make two,” Prohm said. ”You want to get back on the

winning track as soon as possible.”

Murray State guard Jewuan Long said he felt Racers ”let a lot

of people down in life” after losing for the first time this

season.

”We enjoyed being undefeated, we enjoyed going into every game

trying to get an extra win. We enjoyed the run,” Long said. ”If

anything, it’s just going to make us more hungry, more focused, and

we’ll be ready to go by Saturday and every other game.

”We don’t want to have this feeling again, so we want to do

whatever it takes to not have this feeling.”

Murray State can’t afford to have that feeling again, at least

not too many times.

The Racers need one more conference victory to clinch at least a

tie for first place. The OVC’s top two teams get automatic byes

into the conference tournament semifinals.

While Murray state has three wins over opponents in the RPI’s

top 100, the school’s own RPI continues to fall due to a lack of

quality opponents coming up.

The Ohio Valley Conference hasn’t sent two teams to the

tournament since 1987 even though the conference representative has

won its first game in each of the last three seasons, including

Murray State’s victory over Vanderbilt in 2010.

Racers forward Ivan Aska isn’t too concerned.

”In a way, (I’m) glad we lost ahead of time than way in the

tournament or somewhere,” he said.

After playing the Governors, Murray State (23-1, 11-1) travels

to Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday before hosting No. 16 St.

Mary’s on Saturday in the marquee BracketBuster game on national

television.

They’ll continue to rely on point guard Isaiah Canaan, who

scored 31 points against Tennessee State. The Racers built a

13-point second-half lead against the Tigers before it crumbled

with poor play down the stretch and several mistakes in the final

minute.

Prohm said he’s disappointed they couldn’t close out the Tigers

with a big lead, but that he expects his team to be ready to go

beginning with a late afternoon practice Friday before facing the

Governors Saturday night.

””It’s an important game, because the undefeated streak is

great, but our first goal is to win a conference championship. It

was never to go undefeated,” Prohm said. ”You just hate the fairy

tale to end because of what it was doing to this community, the

exposure for this university with just so many flocking to the

great little town of Murray.

”It was awesome.”