RICHMOND — Good shooting, strong rebounding, plus tenacious defense.
Add them together and you have Murray State's formula for Wednesday's 77-64 victory over Eastern Kentucky in McBrayer Arena.
Jarvis Williams, a 6-foot-8 junior, posted a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Racers. Freshman point guard Cameron Payne added 19 points, seven boards and five assists, while Dexter Fields scored 15 points.
The Racers (8-7, 3-0 Ohio Valley Conference) won their third game in a row.
Eastern (10-6, 1-2) lost its second in a row and had a nine-game home-floor winning streak snapped, dating to last season.
Defense, a staple for the first 13 games of the season, now is a concern for EKU.
"So much slippage in the last three games," Coach Jeff Neubauer said. "Obviously (defense) is going to be a focus."
Corey Walden led the Colonels with 24 points. Tarius Johnson added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Glenn Cosey, averaging 20 points, was held scoreless for 30 minutes and finished with five points.
"Murray State did a really good job guarding us tonight, especially Glenn Cosey," Neubauer said. "Glenn has been one of the best players in the conference this year. He's been able to score against a lot of different defenses. But Murray was so athletic. They really guarded him, and they held us to 29 points in the first half."
Good defense led to offense, as the Racers shot 26-for-51 (51 percent) to EKU's 26-for-61 (42.6 percent).
"I was really proud of the way our guys locked in to what we wanted to do on the defensive end and then were able to push the basketball and get easy shots at times," MSU Coach Steve Prohm said.
Williams finished 9-for-9, throwing down five of Murray's seven dunks. He helped the Racers dominate the rebounds, 40-26.
"I try to stay consistent as far as being on the glass," Williams said. "Because ... my role is playing as hard as I can and stay on the glass. I didn't really get into the offensive end of things tonight because they were fronting the post, but my teammates were able to find me with lob passes and I was getting them off of offensive rebounds."
"They're a very good rebounding, inside, aggressive team," Johnson said. "We gave a good effort, but we didn't give enough effort and the better team won today."
Murray broke out to a 14-3 lead, with all the scoring coming on three-point shots, save for one put-back dunk by Williams. Fields hit three of Murray's four early treys.
"Tonight I just came out and shot the ball," Fields said. "And I tried to find my shot, and the shots came to me."
Eastern rallied to tie the score at 19. The Colonels couldn't get over the hump, though, and trailed 38-29 at halftime.
Johnson scored the first basket of the second half to make it a seven-point game, but that was as close as the Colonels would come.
Murray scored the next seven points off of two free throws, followed by Payne's layup and his three-pointer.
The lead grew to 66-48 when Williams scored from close range with 6:20 left.
Three times EKU cut the deficit to eight, the last time at 72-64 on a Walden basket with 1:40 left.
MURRAY ST. 77, E. KENTUCKY 64
MURRAY ST. (8-7) — Fairell 1-2 2-4 4, Williams 9-9 1-4 19, Payne 5-12 7-8 19, Fields 5-7 2-3 15, Moss 1-10 2-2 4, Ford 0-0 0-0 0, Rambo 3-4 1-3 7, Sapp 2-7 4-4 9. Totals 26-51 19-28 77.
Eastern KENTUCKY (10-6) — Stutz 2-7 0-0 4, Cosey 2-13 0-1 5, Walden 10-15 1-1 24, Lewis 3-7 2-2 9, T. Johnson 7-11 1-2 16, McGlone 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 1-6 2-2 4, J. Johnson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-61 6-8 64.
Halftime—Murray St. 38-29. Three-point goals—Murray St. 6-18 (Fields 3-5, Payne 2-5, Sapp 1-3, Moss 0-5), E. Kentucky 6-21 (Walden 3-5, Lewis 1-3, T. Johnson 1-3, Cosey 1-7, Williams 0-3). Fouled out—Walden. Rebounds—Murray St. 40 (Williams 11), E. Kentucky 26 (T. Johnson 8). Assists—Murray St. 13 (Payne 5), E. Kentucky 14 (Cosey 4). Total fouls—Murray St. 14, E. Kentucky 19. A—1,850.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229.Twitter: MarkMaloneyHL.Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com