Home Basketball MVC Arch Madness Game 3 – Murray State 78, Valpo 50

MVC Arch Madness Game 3 – Murray State 78, Valpo 50

by Mike Kern

Sophomore guard JaCobi Wood had 13 points and a career-high 11 assists, keying No. 7 seed Murray State to a 78-50 triumph over No. 10 seed Valparaiso in the opening round of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Thursday night at the Enterprise Center.

It marked the eighth straight year the No. 7 seed won its opening game of the MVC Tournament.

Murray State, winning its second straight game, improved to 17-14. The Racers, who swept all three meetings with Valparaiso this year, advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal round against No. 2 seed Drake. Tipoff is 6 p.m.

The last first-year member of the league to win its first MVC Tourney game was Loyola (No. 10 seed) in 2014, clipping #7 seed Bradley, 74-72, in the opening round. Murray State joined Indiana State and Northern Iowa as teams to sweep an opponent for a third time this season, winning all-three meetings against its MVC Tournament opponents .

Wood became the first player in the MVC Tournament since Casey Schlatter – Drake vs. Missouri State – March 3, 2016 – to dish 11 assists.

Murray State opened the game with an 11-4 run and never looked back.  Murray State enjoyed a 12-2 outburst to extend the lead with 8:12 to play en route to a 38-25 halftime lead. The Racers had 11 assists on 15 field goals.

Valparaiso opened the second half making just three of 17 shots to dig itself in a deep hole. A 10-0 Murray State run extends to lead to 48-29 with 17:15 to play.

The Racers finished with a season-high 24 assists, the third time over 20 assists this season. Murray State hit 10 three-point baskets, tied for second most this season.

Forward Jamari Smith led Murray State by tying a season-high with 19 points, while guard Quincy Anderson had 18 points.Guard Rob Perry had 15 points.

Valparaiso closed the season with an 11-21 record, dropping their last five games. Valparaiso struggled shooting throughout the game, making just 18 of 55 shots (32.7 percent). From long range, the Beacons made just 8.7 percent, hitting on two of 23 three-point attempts. The two 3-pointers matched a season low.

Ben Krikke, a first team All-MVC forward, paced Valparaiso with 14 points. He averaged 27.5 points in two regular season games against Murray State with games of 31 and 24 points. Krikke closed out his career, ranking seventh all-time in scoring at Valparaiso with 1,596 points Kobe King added 10 points, finishing the season with double figures in all 32 games.

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