Murray State will take on Colorado for the Charleston Classic title, following an exciting 72-67 win over St. John’s on Friday night.
The Racers trailed 59-52 with 7:31 to play. Isaiah Canaan and Murray State responded with a 12-0 run over the next three minutes. St. John’s went scoreless for just under four minutes during that stretch.
The Red Storm missed both three-point attempts to tie the game, adding to a dismal shooting total behind the arc, 2-for-14.
The Johnnies got it within two at 64-62, but Stacey Wilson drained a three. St. John’s had two chances at the end to tie the game at 70, but missed both. Wilson, who had 23 points, secured the win with a dunk.
Canaan and Ed Daniel added 15 each for Murray State. D’Angelo Harrison had a game-high 27 points.
Murray State was facing a 13-point deficit with under three minutes to play, the Racers were able to put together a 13-3 run to end the first half to cling to within three of the Johnnies.
That was the turning point of the game. St. John’s could of entered the locker with a double-digit lead. Credit to the Murray State defensive, that allowed only one field goal and forced two turnovers in the final three minutes of the half.
Twice in this semifinal, St. John’s held a solid lead only to see it fade away quickly. The Johnnies, a talented, but young team, couldn’t put the Racers away. Murray State is a senior-heavy team and it showed with big plays from not just their All-American, but from Wilson and Daniel.
St. John’s did get some good news today, as Marco Bourgault, who played five minutes on Friday, was cleared by the NCAA. Steve Lavin is still waiting to hear on Orlando Sanchez’ eligibility.
Murray State will take on Colorado Sunday night. Colorado pulled off an upset over No. 16 Baylor in the first semifinal.
St. John’s returns home to play Holy Cross on Wednesday.