CHARLESTON, S.C.---All-American Isaiah Canaan scored 26 points, including 20 in the first half, to go along with six assists and 3-of-5 three-point shooting to lead Murray State to a 79-59 victory over Auburn in the Charleston Classic first round in TD Arena on Thursday.
Murray State (2-0), which finished last season with a 31-2 record, jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led 11-2 at the first media timeout just over four minutes in. The Racers went up 27-10 on their fifth made three in nine attempts, this one by Stacy Wilson for is third of the game, with 8:42 left in the first.
The Racers increased it to 36-11 behind 16 points from Canaan with 4:27 left in the half and led by as much as 45-15 with a minute to go before Auburn ended the half down 45-19. Canaan scored his 20 first-half points by going 6-of-9 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range and made all five free throws.
"They are a veteran team, and they play with a swagger of a team that won 31 games," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "They play with the confidence and the discipline and the moxie of a team that won 31 games. Then, they expect to win by how they play and how they compete. I thought we came out scared. When you play scared, nervous or frightened, you play tense and you're behind a step on everything that the other team is doing, and that is what took place."
Auburn (1-1) had 15 first half turnovers that led to 20 points for Murray State.
"Give Murray State credit," said Barbee. "I'm disappointed that we didn't show more fight early in the game. I have to evaluate everything. I have to evaluate how I am coaching this team, and I have to evaluate who I am playing and why I am playing guys because for some reason we are not getting it. We are not getting it. I know we are playing some young guys, but it is disappointing. It wasn't the young guys who got us in a hole. It was the veteran group who I tried to stick with early to see if they would fight back and unfortunately they didn't."
Frankie Sullivan went flying into the scorer's table for a loose ball and went to the locker room with 15:13 to play in the game and did not return.
Murray State led by as much as 72-34 with 8:51 left before Auburn outscored the Racers 25-7 the rest of the way.
"Like I told my team, one game does not make our season," said Barbee. "Understand what happened tonight, learn about it and forget about it because we have to come back out in less than 24 hours and try to find a way to get this next game and that is what the most important thing is."
Asauhn Dixon-Tatum led Auburn with 12 points and eight rebounds while Rob Chubb had 12 points and seven boards. The Tigers were held to 33.3 percent shooting from the field, including 26.7 percent (8-of-30) in the first half. Auburn missed its first eight 3-point attempts before Jordan Price made two in a row to finish with nine points. Auburn outrebounded Murray State 43-28.
Stacy Wilson chipped in 18 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting for Murray State, which shot 52.9 percent from the floor and 11-of-23 (.478) from 3-point range.
The Tigers play host College of Charleston, who lost 64-53 to St. John's, in Friday's Charleston Classic second round at 6:30 pm CT on Friday on ESPN3. Other first round scores include Colorado defeating Dayton 67-57 and No. 16 Baylor beating Boston College 67-57.