Murray powers Howland over Canfield
Murray’s 27 points
lift Howland in AAC
By Matthew Peaslee
A lot has changed since Dec. 28 — the last time Howland faced Canfield.
Even more was altered from the first quarter to the end of regulation in their rematch on Friday night.
From down by 17 points, shooting 14 percent to a 22-4 run and 14 consecutive made foul shots, the Tigers rallied, forced overtime and downed the Cardinals, 64-61, in Canfield.
“I think we have the team that you saw in the second half and overtime,” said Howland coach Bill Bogan. “We had a game plan for it. It was obviously your X-ing and O-ing and we’ve got kids that make shots and that helped as they started to fall.”
Howland (5-9, 4-3 AAC American) didn’t make its first field goal — an Arbie Murray layup — until the 1:02 mark of the first. By then, the Tigers trailed, 13-3. Murray, however, was the driving force behind a 25-point third quarter. The 6-foot-3 senior nailed a jump shot in the closing minute of the third that gave them their first lead at 41-40.
Murray finished with 27 points and seven rebounds.
“Really, he just scores the basketball in a variety of ways,” Bogan said. “Arbie, for the last two years, has been our quiet assassin.
“He goes out, doesn’t say three words, and the three words he does say are not in an elevated voice.”
He proved that in a quick postgame interview.
“Trusting my team,” Murray said when asked the key to the Tigers’ hot second half.
The previous three meetings between the two schools have been decided by a total of five points. Five weeks ago, the Cardinals won, 67-64, in Howland. Since that loss, the Tigers have averaged 64.4 points per game. Twice, they scored in the 80s.
“This is one of the most enjoyable games I get to coach all year because it’s just a chess match the whole time,” Bogan said.
Cole Pryjma’s steal and fast-break drive put Canfield up 9-1 in the first two minutes. The junior point guard scored 10 points before halftime.
“The big lead in the first half kind of gave us the illusion that maybe we didn’t need to work as hard in the second half,” Canfield coach Todd Muckleroy said.
Prjyma drilled a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in the fourth quarter that tied it at 57 and sent the game to overtime. The Cardinals ran a set for 23 seconds to get that attempt.
“We were a little bit confused, offensively, but we found the open man and Cole made a big shot,” Muckleroy said.
Howland’s largest lead was just three in the fourth quarter. Canfield (11-2, -1) scored the early advantage in overtime with an Andrew Midgely field goal. But, Murray’s 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining put the Tigers up 62-61. On the Cardinals’ next possession, Reece Bogan, the coach’s son, secured a steal under the Canfield basket and was immediately fouled. He made two free throws with 3 seconds left.
The freshman finished with seven points.