Two years after Isaiah Canaan fumbled away Murray State’s chance at a long run in the NCAA Tournament, he scored 15 points and Donte Poole added 13 to make sure the Racers will stick around at least one more game following a 58-41 victory over Colorado State Thursday at Louisville, Ky.
“It’s just great,’’ said Poole, who likely broke his nose after taking an inadvertent elbow early in the second half. “Now you want to move onto game two and get that win as well.’’
Murray State failed to do that the last time. As a freshman, Canaan was crushed after he mishandled the ball in the closing seconds of a 2-point loss to Butler in the second round.
A leader of this group now, he and the rest of the sixth-seeded Racers (31-1) shook off an 11-day wait to return to the tournament as the mid-major team expected to make a long run.
So far, so good.
Poole scored Murray State’s first 8 points when the Racers needed a lift. Eleventh-seeded Colorado State (20-12) hung around for a half until Poole was popped in the nose by Wes Eikmeier’s elbow. Poole stuffed gauze in his nose to halt the bleeding and soon returned. He was scheduled to have X-rays to confirm he’d broken his nose.
“It is,’’ said Poole, who originally committed to Colorado State but failed to qualify academically by half a credit. “As long as we won, I’m fine.’’
The Racers rallied around him in an 18-2 run that broke the game open.
Colorado State shot 33 percent and was held to its lowest point total of the season.
Murray State moves on to play third-seeded Marquette Saturday.
Marquette 88, BYU 68 - In Lousiville, Ky., Jae Crowder finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, Darius Johnson-Odom had 12 of his 20 points in the second half, and the No. 3-seeded Golden Eagles withstood a furious Cougar rally to move on.
Marquette (26-7) led by as many 19 in the first half, but the 14th-seeded Cougars (26-9) whittled it down to single digits before running out of gas.
Louisville 69, Davidson 62 - Peyton Siva scored 17 points and the Cardinals finally moved on in the NCAA Tournament, beating the Wildcats in Louisville.
After getting ousted in their first tournament game the past two seasons, coach Rick Pitino and the fourth-seeded Cardinals (27-9) advanced.
Jake Cohen had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Davidson (25-8), which was making its 11th tournament appearance and first since 2008, when it was led by Stephen Curry to the round of eight.
Baylor 68, South Dakota St. 60 - In Albuquerque, Pierre Jackson scored 18 points and the third-seeded Bears held off the 14th-seeded Jackrabbits.
Baylor (28-7) fell behind by 12 in the first half before taking a 36-28 halftime lead that it never relinquished.
Making its first trip to the NCAA tournament, South Dakota State (27-8) misfired on a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left that would have made it 1-point game. Then, the Bears iced it at the line.
New Mexico 75, Long Beach St. 68 - In Portland, Ore., Kendall Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and bottled up 49ers’ star Casper Ware to help the fifth-seeded Lobos (28-6) advance past 12th-seeded Long Beach State (25-9).
Kentucky 81, Western Kentucky 66 - Terrence Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Doron Lamb scored 16, and the top-seeded Wildcats (33-2) began their quest for an eighth national title with a staggering display of athleticism in a victory over the Hilltoppers in Louisville.
Freshman and player of the year candidate Anthony Davis added 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 blocks in an easy win.
Western Kentucky (16-19) saw its improbable seven-game winning streak end. Freshman T.J. Price scored 16 of his career-high 21 points in the first half before fouling out late.
Indiana 79, New Mexico St. 66 - Jordan Hulls went on a second-half shooting spree and finished with 22 points, and the fourth-seeded Hoosiers rolled to an impressive win over the Aggies in Portland, Ore.
Indiana (26-8) picked up its first tournament win since beating Gonzaga in 2007 on a night its main stars - Cody Zeller and Christian Watford (14 points each) - did the heavy lifting in the opening minutes then watched Hulls and others carry the load.
Colorado 68, UNLV 64 - Andre Robinson had 12 points and 16 rebounds to pace the 11th-seeded Buffaloes (24-11) in a wire-to-wire win, though the sixth-seeded Rebels (26-9) rallied in the second half to make Colorado sweat it out in Albuquerque.
Kansas St. 70, Southern Miss 64 - Rodney McGruder scored 30 points, Jordan Henriquez added 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 blocks, and freshman point guard Angel Rodriguez scored 7 of his 13 points in the final 2:10 to lead the eighth-seeded Wildcats over the ninth-seeded Golden Eagles (25-9) in Pittsburgh.
The Wildcats (22-10) advanced past their opening tournament game for the third straight year.
Wisconsin 73, Montana 49 - In Albuquerque, Ryan Evans scored 18 points and Jordan Taylor added 17 points and six assists for the fourth-seeded Badgers (25-9), which ended the Grizzlies’ school-record 14-game winning streak.
Art Steward’s 18 points led the 13th-seeded Grizzles (25-7).
Gonzaga 77, West Virginia 54 - Robert Sacre and Gary Bell Jr. scored 14 points apiece as the Bulldogs routed the Mountaineers in Pittsburgh.
Kevin Pangos added 13 points and five assists for the seventh-seeded Bulldogs (26-6).
Gary Browne led the Mountaineers (19-14) with 15 points off the bench and Kevin Jones scored 13 in his final game for 10th-seeded West Virginia, which endured its worst postseason loss in 28 years despite a decided home-court advantage.