NCAA Basketball Tournament - Murray State v Marquette

Isaiah Canaan drops 30; Murray St. beats ODU

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Old Dominion took the lead several times in the second half of a back-and-forth battle between the Monarchs of the CAA and the Murray State Racers of the Ohio Valley Conference on Saturday night. Various ODU players contributed to mini-runs, with DeShawn Painter, Dmitri Batten, Donte Hill and Nick Wright making clutch plays along the way. For Blaine Taylor’s youthful final CAA squad before heading to Conference USA, every night will be a search for the main man, the marquee performer.

On the other side of the ball, it was obvious who played the role of Superman. It has been ever since last season, when the Racers won 31 games and entered the Big Dance with a #6 seed – when in need, get the ball to Isaiah Canaan. We believed in Canaan as well, so much so that we made him a preseason first-team All-American. Our faith, and that of Racer fans, is well placed.

Canaan dropped 30 points on Old Dominion in a 79-72 win at CFSB Center in Murray, KY. His transcendent night included 10-18 shooting from the floor, 6-11 from deep, and 4-5 from the free throw line. Canaan’s big night was seasoned with 3 assists, 2 steals and a block for good measure.

The Racers also got a huge 15 point, 15 rebound game from Ed Daniel, and 13 points from senior forward Brandon Garrett as well.

Painter — an NC State transfer — had a decent night for the visitors from Norfolk, putting in 13 points off the bench to go with 11 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks. The cold-shooting Monarchs simply didn’t have enough to overcome Canaan’s barrage.

The win took the Racers to 4-1 overall, leaving them in good shape as they cruise toward conference play. Early wins over BCS-level programs Auburn and St. Johns plump up a resume that will be slightly strengthened by league games against new OVC member Belmont after the new year.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.