MURRAY, Ky. -- According to Ed Daniel, he's just doing his thing.
Daniel had a career-high 23 points and 14 rebounds to lift Murray State to a 76-54 win over Bethel (Tenn.) on Tuesday night.
"I just came out like I do every game," Daniel said. "I'm just trying to go for rebounds and that's really my main focus. I'm feeling good, just keep going hard every day."
"We just wanted to be more focused on the defensive end," Wilson said. "Once our defense got going, I think that led to transition and everybody was scoring easy. Ed was doing what he was doing in the post and that opened up little things that we worked on in practice."
Darnell Moore led the scoring for Bethel (11-2) with 14 points.
After getting the ball at the opening tip, Daniel scored the first eight points for the Racers. He started with a jumper 15 seconds into the game, followed by two layups -- both on assists by Wilson -- before completing the spurt with a dunk.
"We prepared for this team like we do for every game," Daniel said. "No team is different and anybody can be beat any day. We knew they was better than they were last year so we had to come out harder than we did last year."
Canaan drained a 3-pointer, raising the score to 11-2 before Dexter Fields stole the ball and, with a blind pass behind his back, hit Canaan for a layup. That gave the Racers a 10-point lead five minutes into the game.
Bethel struggled offensively against their first Division I opponent of the season, shooting only 22.2 percent from the floor and 33 percent from the 3-point line in the first half.
Stephen Gillette ended a five-minute scoreless streak for the Wildcats with a jumper at 10:16, answered by a Canaan dunk on an assist by Daniel. Daniels then converted a layup and free throw to push the Racers to a 20-point advantage with 7:02 on the clock.
Murray State head coach, and Basketball Time's Coach of the Year, Steve Prohm stood with arms crossed at the sidelines as Daniel's dunk lifted the Racers to a 31-11 advantage.
"Ed did a terrific job, 9-for-13 from the field," Prohm said. "We didn't make threes 3-for-19, I knew it was bad but didn't realize we were that bad. Half to two-thirds of those were good looks. We went inside early and they did a good job."
A 3-pointer by Bethel's Josh Swing ended the half with the Wildcats trailing Murray State 39-18.
Coming out of the break, Murray State continued to maintain a comfortable 20-plus-point lead against its NAIA opponent who shot 33.3 percent from the field in the second half.
"There was some sloppy play, some poor decision making today," Prohm said. "We were hoping to be under 10 (turnovers), we've got to do a good job with that. The 13 steals were very good and they weren't gambling steals, they were being good with your hands and making good plays."
Brandon Garrett, who had six points and three rebounds, garnered his first points of the night for the Racers on a jumper 25 seconds into the second half.
Daniel, whose 11.3 rebound average ranks him first in the Ohio Valley Conference and seventh in the nation, dunked again before Moore's jumper brought the score to 47-22. Daniel followed that up with two free throws. He continued to shine as he sandwiched two layups around a Canaan layup to give the Racers a 29-point lead five minutes into the second half.
Wilson connected on a three to propel the Racers to a 58-28 lead before Garrett dunked on a pass by Canaan before blocking a dunk attempt by Bethel, gaining applause from Prohm.
"Credit our guys," Prohm said. "We're three guys short right now-two short on the perimeter-they're doing a terrific job competing as hard as they can and we've got to just take it a day at a time. Being down a couple guys, every game is a big game."
The game ended with back-to-back 3-pointers from Bethel's Hunter Culp.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.
|Southeast Missouri State||2-14||8||5-24|