Murray State entered the 2012 NCAA Tournament as the only one-loss team in the field. But despite a record-breaking season that saw them dominate the Ohio Valley Conference and notch wins over St. Mary’s and at Memphis, the Racers came in eager to prove their worth as a No. 6 seed.
The backcourt duo of Donte Poole (13 points) and OVC player of the year Isaiah Canaan (15) led the Racers and controlled the pace of the game. Murray State committed just eight turnovers and had nine steals on the afternoon.
Colorado State was the early aggressor, getting into the lane and hitting the glass hard on both ends. But in the second half, the speed and athleticisim of Murray State were on display. With quick hands and feet, the Racers forced 22 turnovers, turning many into transition buckets as they opened up a 13-point lead midway through the second half.
Pierce Hornung was the story early for the Rams, pulling down 11 of his game-high 17 rebounds in the first half. His efforts on the offensive glass gave Colorado State second-chance opportunities, which they needed. The Rams shot just 33 percent for the game.
The Racers advance to face the winner of No. 3 Marquette and 14th-seeded BYU in Saturday’s third round.
Box score: Murray State 58, Colorado State 41
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