Morehead State Bounds Forward
Thursday night Morehead State (19-11) bounced the Murray State Racers (17-14) by bounding better, ultimately winning 75-66.
Stat of the Night: Murray 7 Def Rebs in 2nd Half, Morehead State collected 10 Off Rebs 2nd half.
Rebounding and defense get harped on routinely by all coaches. Morehead State Head Coach Sean Woods puts a slightly different twist on rebounding though.
“That is who we are,” said Coach Woods after the win. “That is like a play of ours. It is the last play of a possession, going to get an offensive rebound.”
Coach Woods is deservedly pleased with his roster. The Eagles have won seven in a row and are just two wins removed from an OVC Tournament Championship trophy.
Morehead State has several older players, but most of the team is relatively naive to the ‘ways of the OVC.’
In Coach Woods’ head coaching career he had never defeated Murray State until Thursday night. To him Murray carries a mystique, but Coach Woods doesn’t think his players understood or revered that mystique.
There was no hesitation in the rebounding wars. No fear, no cowering.
“Every day in practice coach just stresses, ‘Never give up on the play,'” said Elechi. “That is kind of what I tell myself each time to just keep fighting for the ball.”
On the night Elechi collected five offensive rebounds just like Lyonell Gaines. Three offensive fouls were credited to the team, but they should probably be split between Elechi and DeJuan “Rico” Marrero.
“Usually I just try to hunt the ball,” expanded Elechi. “There are bodies that try to box me out, but I just try to swim around them and stuff like that. I try to find the ball. If I see the ball go up in the air I am going to try to get it regardless.”
Injuries finally caught up to the Racers. Without Brion Sanchious, Kendrick Flomo, and Chad Culbreath were already short-staffed. Then the gigantic food order came in and two more cooks left the kitchen.
First, Croaker sustained a bad ankle injury. He was unable to play the entire second half. Bryce Jones also picked up a ding. Fortunately, the left-handed guard played through his ailment.
Jones had a wonderful push in the second half. He finished with 24 points on a wonderfully efficient 7-11 field goals. Offensively, their second half was almost entirely Jones plus Jeffery Moss.
Together they tried. But the program that never needs to rebuild was left with building blocks and three seniors. Not enough to constitute an OVC Champion.
“Murray is never going to go away,” said Coach Woods. “You have to put them away. I thought our guys did a great job of putting them away down the stretch.”
The Racers were put out to pasture. Their season is finished and despite their greatest efforts it will go down as the lowest point in program history since the early 80’s.