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Aces Basketball loses heartbreaker on Racers’ buzzer-beater

MURRAY, KY. (WFIE) – With the score tied at 70-70 in the final seconds, Murray State hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to clinch a 73-70 victory over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team inside the CFSB Center.

“I’m proud of the way our guys fought today in a hostile environment.  We kept clawing away at the deficit and gave ourselves a chance to win,” UE head coach David Ragland said.  “Unfortunately, Murray State made one more play at the end than we did.  We will learn from today and be ready for Drake on Tuesday.”

Four Purple Aces finished in double figures with Tanner Cuff leading the way with 15.  He was 4-for-5 from the field.  Kenny Strawbridge Jr. and Ben Humrichous recorded 14 apiece.  Strawbridge added 10 boards on the way to a double-double.  Chuck Bailey III scored 10.

Ben Humrichous gave UE the perfect start, hitting a triple on the first possession.  Murray State countered with nine in a row to take their first lead before Evansville stormed back with a rally of its own.  Josh Hughes hit a jumper before Gage Bobe converted a 3-pointer.  Kenny Strawbridge capped the run with a field goal to make it a 10-9 game at the 14:55 mark.

MSU quickly retook the lead on a triple and the squads would swap the lead numerous times in the ensuing minutes.  With the game knotted at 16-16, the Racers went on an 11-2 run to take their largest advantage at 27-18 approaching the final six minutes.  The lead for Murray remained between five and eight points over the remainder of the half.

With the seconds winding down, Kenny Strawbridge Jr. connected on a triple at the buzzer to make it a 32-27 game at the break.

Humrichous got things going right out of the gate.  Following a Racers basket, he drained consecutive triples to cut the deficit to just one at 34-33.  Murray State retook control over the next four minutes, retaking a 9-point lead at 46-37.  Evansville continued to chip away as a Tanner Cuff 3-pointer got UE within a possession at 48-45 with 11:25 remaining.

Evansville got back within four on a few occasions but was finally able to get closer entering the final three minutes.  Another three by Humrichous made it a 68-65 game and a Cuff free throw made it a 2-point game.  With 2:05 left, Yacine Toumi drained a pair of free throws to cut the Racer lead to one at 69-68.

It was Toumi coming through once again less than a minute later as his second-chance basket tied the game at 70-70.  Unfortunately, MSU came through with a triple at the buzzer to take the win.  The Racers shot 49.2% on the day with UE finishing at 45.8%.

On Tuesday, the Aces return to the Ford Center to face Drake at 7 p.m.