JaCobi Wood hit four shots from 3-point range on the way to 23 points as Murray State knocked off No. 24 Texas A&M 88-79 on Thursday on the opening day of the Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, S.C.
Kenny White Jr.’s 18 points and Jamari Smith’s 17 points were also crucial for Murray State, which used only seven players. Rob Perry added 12 points. Wood, who had four assists, was 9 for 9 on free throws.
Murray State (2-1) will meet UMass, a 66-63 winner against Colorado in Thursday’s first game, in a semifinal Friday. Texas A&M (2-1) takes on Colorado in the consolation bracket.
Tyrece Radford’s 19 points led the Aggies, while Wade Taylor IV had 16 points. Reserves Manny Obaseki (12 points) and Julius Marble (11 points) also hit double figures.
Murray State never trailed, taking a nine-point lead early on and warding off whatever rallies Texas A&M — which moved into the Top 25 after the opening week of the season — could muster.
One of the biggest threats came when the Aggies posted eight straight points, capped by 3s from Taylor and Obaseki, to close within 60-58 with 8:24 left.
The response from Murray State was more impressive. The Racers went on a 10-2 run that was complete with Perry’s 3-pointer to restore a 10-point edge.
DJ Burns, Wood and Perry sank free throws to help stem any late rally from Texas A&M. The Racers ended up 28 for 36 at the foul line. Wood was 4 for 4 at the line in the last 34 seconds.
The Aggies were troubled by 6-for-27 shooting on 3-pointers, making a comeback more difficult.
Murray State shot 50 percent from the field, while Texas A&M was at 38 percent.
Murray State built a 35-28 halftime lead, and the Racers stretched it to 51-36 with 15 minutes to play.
Seventeen turnovers couldn’t derail the Racers, nor could Texas A&M’s 42-37 rebounding advantage.
–Field Level Media