CONWAY, SC (AP) — JaCobi Wood scored 23 points and Murray State defeated No. 24 Texas A&M 88-79 in Thursday’s Myrtle Beach Invitational.
The Racers (2-1) take on UMass in the semifinals, while Texas A&M (2-1) take on Colorado on Friday.
The win was Murray State’s first over a ranked team in a decade. The Aggies appeared in the Associated Press’s Top 25 this week for the first time since January 1, 2017.
Wood oversaw a foursome of transfers that were in double figures for the Racers. Kenny White Jr. (Tennessee Tech) had 18 points, Jamari Smith (Queens of North Carolina) had 17 and Rob Perry (Stetson) had 12. Wood joined from Belmont.
Murray State shot 50% and made 10 of 22 3-point attempts.
Steve Prohm, in his second term as Murray State coach—the first came in 2011-15 before he moved to Iowa State—was pleased with the performance of the Racers’ reconstructed roster.
“It’s a great win,” said Prohm. “We’re trying to lay the groundwork. This program has been so good for so long, but we have brand new people. We have some pieces to make a good puzzle at the end of the day if we build our foundation properly.”
Tyrece Radford scored 19 points to lead Texas A&M and surpassed 1,000 for his career. Wade Taylor IV added 16, Manny Obaseki had 12 and Julius Marble had 11. The Aggies shot just 38% after hitting more than 50% in their first two games.
“We tried to gain a foothold, never made it, and in a lot of ways that made the difference in the game,” said Aggies coach Buzz Williams. “We weren’t present on the glass, we shot a very small percentage as a team on the edge. I don’t think we denied shots to the rim or from the periphery like we do.
White scored seven straight points in an 8-0 run for the Racers’ greatest lead of 15 five minutes into the second half. After the Aggies got within two, White had a six-point streak in a 10-2 run to rebuild a 10-point lead with about six minutes remaining. Texas A&M reduced the lead to five with 2 1/2 minutes left, but a bucket from Smith and then 11 free throws to end the game left the Racers upset.
“Basketball is a running game, but our coach told us how we’re going to deal with adversity,” Perry said. “We’ve been down before, we just had to handle adversity well and come back with zest.”
Smith, Wood and White were all in double figures in the second half, averaging 34 points combined.
Murray State went 15-6 behind a pair of 3-pointers from Wood and was up 35-28 at halftime.
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