Racers top Jackson, Arkansas State, 77-62

Bryan Edwards | Kentucky New Era

Murray State's Macey Turley drives to the basket in the Racers' 77-62 win over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.

MURRAY -- It hasn't been the easiest start for Murray State women's basketball, which has had to take trips to both Louisville and Mississippi State to start the 2019-20 season.

But Tuesday night at the CFSB Center, there was some veteran pedigree in the Racers -- who topped Arkansas State 77-62 and moved to 4-2 on the year.

MSU sophomore point guard Macey Turley overcame eight turnovers by scoring 28 points on 7-for-15 from the floor and 11-for-11 from the stripe, while Lex Mayes poured in a career-high 18 points on 5-for-10 from the field.

"I've had a little struggle this season finding my rhythm," Mayes said. "But I have really good coaches, really good teammates. And they're always telling me to keep shooting the ball. It's a process, I guess. Hopefully it's on the uptick."

Tied 22-all with 5:36 left in the second quarter, the Racers ran into halftime on a 16-2 run -- courtesy of five points each from Turley, Mayes and Alexis Burpo (10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals), who nailed a left-corner triple right before the halftime buzzer.

"It's big, because it's not something that people expect her to do," noted MSU coach Rechelle Turner, on Burpo's triple. "I can guarantee you that no one's scouting report says 'guard her at the 3.' When she's able to make those shots? She's always been able and capable of making those shots. She's just not consistent in making those shots.

"But what a huge shot right before the half. And just a huge find by Macey Turley, and (Burpo) just shot the ball with confidence. When she doesn't think about it and just shoots it, she shoots the ball really well."

The Racers and Red Wolves would play even in the third quarter (16-all) before Arkansas State opened the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run, holding the Racers to no baskets for more than four minutes.

MSU, however, went 16-for-18 from the stripe the rest of the way -- preserving victory.

"I've seen No. 5 (Turley), No. 4 (Mayes) and No. 32 (Burpo) make a lot of free throws at the end of ball games, and I have a lot of faith in them," Turner added. "Macey's an outstanding free-throw shooter, and so is Lex. Burpo has been struggling a little bit, but it's something she's really been focusing in on, and once she made the first one, I wasn't worried. I knew after that, she was going to lock in and make free throws.

"But we were 22-for-26 for the game, and you're going to win a lot of games when you can get to the foul line that much because you're aggressive and can make those points count. I'm a firm believer that that is what extends games for you, when you're able to go to the line and make them."

Former Christian County Lady Colonel Trinitee Jackson played just three minutes in the game, scoring three points and pulling down two offensive rebounds.

Defense shines

Arkansas State shot just 38% from the field and 22.2% from the arc, but did have two big-time scorers in Peyton Martin (23 points, 9-for-15 shooting) and Jireh Washington (14 points, 6-for-10 shooting).

However, in the 16-2 second-quarter run, MSU forced the Red Wolves into five turnovers and 0-for-5 shooting -- 10 empty possessions -- before former Christian County star Trinitee Jackson tossed up a layup with 30 seconds left in the half.

"Sadie Hill was the adjustment," Turner said of her sophomore guard, who played 17 minutes. "I thought she changed the whole complexion of the game when we put her in at the last part of the second quarter. Her toughness, her fight and her grit just took it to a whole 'nother level. And everybody really gets excited, because they know she'll give it everything."

Arkansas State16 8 16 22 -- 62

Murray State17 21 16 23 -- 77

RED WOLVES -- Peyton Martin 23, Jireh Washington 14, Payton Tennison 10, Jada Ford 10, Morgan Wallace 6, Maggie Mahan 4, Trinitee Jackson 3, Johnna Jones 2.

FG: 22-58. 3PT: 4-18 (Ford 2, Mahan, Washington). FT: 14-23. Reb: 36 (Wallace 10). PF: 19. Ast: 11. TO: 17. St: 12. Blk: 5.

RACERS -- Macey Turley 28, Lex Mayes 18, Laci Hawthorne 12, Alexis Burpo 10, Macie Gibson 5, Cekeya Mack 2, Jentri Worley 2.

FG: 24-57. 3PT: 7-21 (Turley 3, Mayes 2, Gibson, Burpo). FT: 22-26. Reb: 37 (Burpo 9). PF: 20. Ast: 12. TO: 15. St: 7. Blk: 5.

RECORDS

RED WOLVES 1-5; RACERS 4-2

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