MURRAY — Matt McMahon’s squad will look to stay undefeated on Thursday night as they play in their third straight road game against an opponent they just beat 14 days ago. That’s the oddity of the schedule this season. The Racers will face the Skyhawks for the second time, then the Redhawks for the second time, both within two weeks of the first meeting.
“There’s a lot of familiarity, I would think, between the two teams playing so close together, but I’m not sure what kind of impact that has on the game,” McMahon said.
When it comes to impact, one guy for the Skyhawks has been consistent at making his presence felt, and he is on the Racers’ radar after putting up 25 points in the second half and 33 points for the game in the CFSB Center back on Jan. 2.
Parker Stewart finished that game 9-20 from the floor and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. He presents a lot of challenges to the Murray State defense because of his skill set.
“There are a lot of catch-and-shoot three-point guys out there in the country, and he can do that,” McMahon said. “But his ability to shoot the three off the dribble, I think is one of the tops in the nation. He doesn’t need much time or space to get his shot off because of his size and quick release and in the second half of our game he was outstanding. So, he presents a lot of challenges defensively and we will have to do a solid job on him Thursday.”
Stewart’s 25 points in the second half included 5-8 from the three-point line and his teammate Eman Sertovic went 3-5 in the second half as the Skyhawks tried to spark the offense with the outside shot. McMahon said they need to find a way to contest those shots and chase the shooters off of their spots.
“The second half they hit us with a three-point barrage where they were 9-19 from three,” McMahon said. “We will have to do a much better job there.”
The only other thing that the Racers did poorly in the win over UT Martin was turnovers. They had 18 for the game and they have to clean those up as they head into the hostile territory that is the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
“We turned the ball over too much,” McMahon said. “Quite a bit of that was a credit to them. Quentin Dove is the best in our league at taking charges. I think we had five or six offensive fouls in the game, whether it was charges or illegal screens or a couple of post ups fouls, so we’ve got to value the ball better there.”
As for the offensive output of the Racers, they should take a little solace in the fact that scoring continues to come from different players. When Tevin Brown struggles like he did against Tennessee Tech, guys like Jaiveon Eaves and DaQuan Smith score double-digits. Then, in the front court, there are reliable options like Anthony Smith, KJ Williams, and even Devin Gilmore. Anthony and KJ are capable of double-digits on any given night and Gilmore has missed just one shot in conference play. As those guys continue to improve and the guard play continues to come along, this Racers team becomes more and more dangerous for the opposition because it’s not a one-man show. It’s not even a five-man show. The depth is off the charts and the sky is the limit.