Murray St. 79, Auburn 59
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)
The Racers (2-0) will play another high-speed opponent, St. John's, on Friday for a spot in the eight-team tournament's championship game Sunday. Auburn (1-1) will go against the host school, College of Charleston, in the consolation round.
The Tigers will need lots of consoling after this one. Murray State opened a 27-10 lead over the first 11 minutes and the margin only got wider the rest of the way.
Canaan, the Racers' star guard, had outscored Auburn by himself in the first half with 20 points as Murray State led 45-19 at the break. Things only got worse as the Tigers trailed by as many as 36 points.
Rob Chubb and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum had 12 points each to lead Auburn. Frankie Sullivan, who scored 26 in the Tigers' season-opening victory over IPFW last week, was held to seven points on 2-of-13 shooting and left the game with a cut on his right arm after crashing hard into the scorer's table midway through the second half. Sullivan did not return.
Canaan, who averaged 19 points a game in Murray State's 31-2 landmark 2011-2012 season, was 9 of 12 from the field and made three of his five 3-pointers. He also had a game-high six assists.
Wilson was also on target, making four of Murray State's 11 threes.
Murray State was coming off its best mark in school history, starting 23-0 last year and reaching the NCAA tournament's third round before falling to Marquette.
And the Racers got a strong start for a second straight pre-conference tournament title after winning the Great Alaska Shootout last season.
To top it off, Racers coach Steve Prohm graduated from Auburn's arch-rival, Alabama, and spent five seasons as a student assistant and student manager for the Crimson Tide.
Prohm's Racers poured it on the Tigers.
Canaan and Wilson combined for 21 points to build the 27-10 lead with 8:44 left. Auburn went nearly seven minutes scoring just a point while Murray State continued to fill it up.
The Racers shot 57.7 percent (15 of 26) overall and were 8 of 13 on 3-pointers.
The Tigers were as cold shooting as the Racers were hot. Auburn hit only 8 of 30 field goal tries, missed all five chances from long range and was only 3 of 7 on foul shots. The Tigers also had 15 first-half turnovers.