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Donte Poole's 21 points help Murray State reach 17-0

MURRAY, Ky. -- Donte Poole had 21 points and three steals to lead Murray State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) past Jacksonville State 66-55 on Thursday night, giving the unbeaten Racers the best start in school history.

"We're not perfect," Poole said.

But they are.

Ed Daniel added 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Racers (17-0, 5-0 Ohio Valley Conference). Murray State is one of three undefeated teams in Division I, joining No. 1 Syracuse and No. 4 Baylor.

Brian Williams led Jacksonville State with 18 points.

The Gamecocks (6-13, 1-5) never led in the first half and Murray State went into the break up by three after shooting 34.8 percent.

At the 15-minute mark of the second half, Isaiah Canaan fired up the crowd with a dunk. With 5 minutes remaining, Murray State opened a 13-point margin and pulled away. Fans began chanting "Undefeated!" with 40 seconds to go.

Ivan Aska, who led the Racers in rebounding before breaking his hand two weeks ago, was on the bench in street clothes and a cast. He spent the game yelling encouragement to his teammates.

Jacksonville State committed 10 more fouls than the Racers, who forced 20 turnovers. Both teams got 16 points from the bench.

Despite their early struggles, the Racers never gave up the lead. They allowed the Gamecocks to tie it three times.

The Racers host Tennessee Tech on Saturday before a sold-out crowd. Jacksonville State goes on the road to play Austin Peay.