CIT Championship On The Line At Murray State
Teams Meet For Second Time
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale's run in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament will come to an end on Thursday in Murray, Ky. The question is will the Bulldogs leave with the championship trophy. Yale plays Murray State in the sixth annual CIT Championship game. Tip off at the CFSB Center is slated for 7 p.m. EDT, and the game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
Yale (19-13) is looking to become the first Ivy League team to win a postseason tournament since Princeton captured the 1975 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title. The Bulldogs also can reach the 20 overall win mark for the first time since the 2001-02 team won 21 games.
Yale earned a berth in the championship game with an impressive 75-62 victory at VMI on Tuesday. The Bulldogs held the Keydets, who entered the game as the highest scoring team in the nation, nearly 30 points below their season average. Javier Duren paced Yale with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Duren has elevated his game in the four CIT games. He is averaging 20.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in the tournament, including a career-high 33-point performance in the quarterfinal victory over Columbia.
All four of Yale's victories in the tournament have come against teams that have at least 20 wins, and the last three have come on the road in hostile environments. Regardless of the outcome against Murray State, the Bulldogs will end the season feeling much better than they would have following a home loss to Dartmouth on Mar. 8, which was the end of the regular season.
The future certainly seems bright for Yale, who will return its top eight scorers next year.
3 KEYS FOR YALE
Transition Defense – Like VMI, Murray State likes to get up and down the floor. The Bulldogs were very successful in limiting the Keydets' opportunities in transition. They will need similar success against the Racers.
Offensive Rebounding – Both teams have success on the offensive glass. Murray State has 390 offensive rebounds on the season, while the Bulldogs have 372. The team that wins the battle of the boards could be the team that wins the game.
Depth – Four of Murray State's starters average more than 30 minutes a game. If the game is close late, Yale's depth could be a deciding factor.
This will be the second meeting between Yale and Murray State. The Bulldogs knocked off the Racers 71-63 in the consolation game of the 1978 Poinsettia Tournament in Greenville, S.C.
SCOUTING MURRAY STATE
The Racers (22-11) are 16-1 on the season in the CFSB Center, including three victories in the CIT. MSU opened the tournament with a 66-63 victory at Missouri State and then beat Nebraska Omaha, 86-62, Towson, 85-73, and Pacific, 98-75, at home. Murray State is 9-22 all-time in the post-season which includes 15 NCAA appearances, seven in the NIT and one this season in the CIT. Four players average double figures in scoring, led by Cameron Payne at 16.6 ppg. Jarvis Williams (14.8 ppg.), T.J. Sapp (13.5 ppg.) and Jeffrey Moss (13.3 ppg.) are the others. MSU has won at least 20 games in each of the last five seasons, and in 2011-12, the Racers were the final undefeated team in the nation at 23-0 before eventually finishing 31-2 and advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
PREVIOUS COLLEGE INSIDER TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
This is the sixth annual CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the previous five champions are: East Carolina (2013), Mercer (2012), Santa Clara (2011), Missouri State (2010) and Old Dominion (2009).
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity