Poole sinks 28, No. 15 Racers now 18-0
Murray State is focused more on wins than individual statistics.
Donte Poole had a career-high 28 points and eight rebounds in the 15th-ranked Racers' 82-74 victory over Tennessee Tech on Saturday. Poole was unaware of his career-high scoring total until he was told after the game.
''I didn't know that,'' Poole said. ''We're just out there playing together, everything is for the team. Coach (Steve) Prohm always tells us `You win for the team, you play for the team and you play unselfish and personal goals will come.' I'm not really thinking about (personal goals) and I'm sure no one else on the team is. As long as we win, whether I had a career high or a career low, I'm just glad we won against a good team.''
Isaiah Canaan added 24 points to lead Murray State (18-0, 6-0 Ohio Valley Conference) to its 18th consecutive victory and set the longest winning streak in school history, eclipsing the 17-game streak by the 2009-10 team.
''Credit our guys' resiliency,'' Prohm said. ''We're having to play a lot of different ways and we're just trying to figure things out and they're doing things on the fly and making adjustments and I couldn't be prouder of them.''
Kevin Murphy and Jud Dillard scored 19 points each to lead Tennessee Tech (11-7, 3-2). Dillard also had 12 rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who tied the score seven times.
''Tennessee Tech has a great group of guards on their team and that's the bulk of their team and they did a great job of coming out and executing,'' Canaan said. ''Murphy did a good job coming out and getting in rhythm. Jud Dillard is a great player he gets all the garbage buckets and offensive rebounds, (Zac) Swansey controls their team and we knew coming in that would be the reason we won or lost so we had to take it upon thyself and try to limit their touches and points to come out with the win, but they did a good job executing.''
The score was tied at 57 with less than 10 minutes to go but Murray State pulled away by making its last 15 free throws. The Racers hit 77 percent from the line in the second half.
Playing in front of a sold-out crowd mostly dressed in white, the Racers used a 15-0 run and 6-of-15 3-point shooting in the first half to take a 39-36 halftime lead.
''I know that stretch in the first half it seemed like they weren't missing a shot,'' Dillard said. ''We were trying to get to the shooters and then it goes in the net. That just seems how it was a lot of times during the game.''
Murray State had a game-high 17-point margin in the first half and forced the Golden Eagles, who had a 22-point contribution from the bench, to 17 turnovers.
Between the two teams there were 42 offensive rebounds in the game, 23 from Tennessee Tech and 19 from Murray State.
''I'm proud of these guys, we've weathered every storm all year so far,'' Prohm said. ''If you look, I don't know if it was in our game notes, we have the second most road wins in the country — second most in the country behind Cleveland State. I read that last night, and that's impressive.
''We've been to Morgan State, they've only lost eight home games in the last four or five years-that's a tough place to play,'' Prohm said. ''We've been to Birmingham, we've been to Alaska, we've been all over so these guys have been battled tested. They've battled through Ivan's injury now, we're dealing with that and we're having to play totally different.''
Both the Racers and Golden Eagles were members of the original Ohio Valley Conference and Murray State leads Tennessee Tech 120-47 in the series, dating to 1930.