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If poise was the question, Murray State silenced the doubters

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It wasn’t nearly as competitive as many expected, but No. 16 Murray State had a chance to shine on the national stage and they seized the opportunity.

Behind a strong 23-point performance from All-American candidate Isaiah Canaan, the Racers took control of the game from the opening tip and took down No. 21 St. Mary’s, 65-51.

In front of a packed house in Murray, Ky., the favorites to win the Ohio Valley Conference showed why they find themselves with a 26-1 record, shooting 9-of-17 from three-point range and holding St. Mary’s to 38% shooting from the field.

The Racers used their balance of a transition game, where they thrive, and their outside shooting, led by Canaan, to never trail on Saturday evening.

Early on, it looked like the Gaels had found a way to neutralize Canaan, who had just one basket through the first 15 minutes and six points at the half.

Then the Canaan that had dominated to this point in the season emerged, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half, igniting the Murray State offense and punctuating the effort with an alley-oop to Brandon Garrett that made the crowd erupt with 9:22 to play.

On the defensive end, Steve Prohm’s team was able to hold a normally sharp-shooting St. Mary’s team to 2-of-14 shooting from long distance. Guard Matthew Dellavedova, playing with an injured ankle, was the only Gael able to manage a double-figure scoring night, going for 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

If this win did nothing else for Murray State, it should show that they are an NCAA Tournament team, whether that comes by way of an OVC Tournament championship, or an at-large bid.

Already with wins over Memphis, Southern Miss, and Dayton in the non-conference, Saturday’s win over St. Mary’s makes for a solid resumé, assuming they lose out on an automatic bid and need to make their case to the selection committee.

And they answered one other question, at least for now: that haunting intangible, “pressure,” didn’t seem to be a problem.

Many attributed Murray State’s first loss, at the hands of Tennessee State, to this “pressure,” the kind that builds with increasing national attention and the label of “last unbeaten.” Critics point to the Racers’ three turnovers in the final 11 seconds as proof.

Correct or not about the situation against Tennessee State, that same force was not at work on Saturday night.

Consider the circumstances, finding themselves on national television in a showcase game, then consider the results, a dominating performance with 58% shooting from the field.

For anyone who was ready to question one of the core pillars of Murray State after their first loss, it may be time to reconsider.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO: Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson throws down under-the-legs dunk after making 3-pointer

"CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Terrance Ferguson during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)"
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Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.

Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.

It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.

VIDEO: Manute Bol’s 6’11” son Bol Bol throws down in-game under-the-legs dunk

McPherson's Jacob Loecker attempts to steal the ball form Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege's Bol Bol during the first quarter of the boys' Class 4A Division I state championship basketball game Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Salina, Kan. (Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
(Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
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Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.

The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.

Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year

Iowa State guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long defends Buffalo guard Jarryn Skeete during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 84-63. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
(AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
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Iowa State got a boost to its roster for next season as senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long has been granted a hardship waiver by the Big 12 conference.

“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”

The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.

CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C.,  Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina's statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.

The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.

The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.

 

VIDEOS: Stephen Curry personally invites athletes to his select camp

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, holds the championship trophy and Andre Iguodala holds the series MVP trophy as they celebrate winning the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105-97 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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As he did last year, the NBA’s MVP is sending out personal invites to Under Armour’s SC30 Select Camp for some of the best high school and college point guards in the country.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the kids. Can you imagine how you would feel as a high school junior getting a personalized invitation to a camp from Stephen Curry himself?