Murray State rolls on in NIT
TULSA, Okla. (AP) Cameron Payne scored 20 points and Murray State shredded Tulsa's normally stingy defense in an 83-62 second-round victory in the NIT on Monday.
Jeffery Moss and T.J. Sapp added 17 points each and Jarvis Williams had 15 for Murray State (29-5), which made a season-high 14 3-pointers.
''We've got guys who can really shoot it,'' said Murray State coach Steve Prohm. ''All four of those guys can shoot from outside and when we're finding each other it makes us tough to guard. That spurt we had just before halftime, it was 3, 3, 3 and suddenly we're up 18. That really helped.''
The Racers tossed in 9 of 15 3-pointers in the first half, a sizzling 60 percent, and held a 45-27 lead at halftime. The Racers went on a 12-0 run midway through the half for a 30-16 lead and closed with a 15-5 burst in the final 4:32, including four 3-pointers.
Payne, who made 7 of 10 field goals and 5 of 8 3-pointers, hit two treys as Murray State opened the second half with a 10-5 run. Tulsa never came closer than 20 points thereafter.
''Payne is as good of a point guard as we've seen all year,'' Tulsa coach Frank Haith said. ''He's terrific. I thought he controlled the game. If he wasn't scoring, he was setting up his teammates.''
Murray State advances to play at No. 1 seed Old Dominion (26-7) on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
The Racers finished their Ohio Valley Conference regular-season slate with a 16-0 record and went undefeated for 99 days in December, January and February before losing to Belmont 88-87 in the OVC tournament championship, yet were ignored by the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
Shaquille Harrison led Tulsa with 15 points. Rashad Ray added 14 and James Woodard 13.
Tulsa had allowed just three teams to shoot 50 percent or better all season, none higher than 51.9 percent by Oklahoma State, and was holding opponents to an average of 39 percent.
Murray State: Moss made 4 of 5 treys, Sapp hit 3 of 8 and Justin Seymour made 2 of 3 in support of Payne. Wayne Langston had 12 rebounds and Jonathan Fairell grabbed 10 as the Racers outrebounded Tulsa 42-36.
Tulsa: Haith said his junior dominated team has to get more physical and more skilled in the offseason to compete with teams like Murray State or American Conference foes SMU and Cincinnati.
''Murray State manhandled us physically and we've got to get better and stronger,'' Haith said. ''We've got to be able to finish all those shots inside that we missed tonight. And we've got to be more skilled.''