MURPHYSBORO — Two-time defending champion Murphysboro got off the fast start taking a 20-point halftime lead and cruised to a 55-38 win over Roosevelt in their season opener on the opening night at the 14th Annual Ernie Bozarth Memorial Tournament.

"We got off to a good start," said Murphysboro coach Daryl Murphy. "In the first half we saw spots of pretty solid defense, we shot the ball well at times and we ran with the ball really well. I like what I saw for the first game."

The tournament resumes Friday with the Red Devils (1-0) playing Harrisburg (0-1) at 7:45 p.m. In the opening game, Harrisburg cut a 17-point deficit to start the fourth quarter down to four with 1:17 left, but fell short losing 74-68 to Confluence Prep.

Tim Marston led a balanced Red Devils attack with 11 points, eight rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot. Brandon Caldwell and Jaron Gaston finished with nine points with Mishont Gibbs adding eight.

"The game plan was to come out with all types of pressure so we could get out early and get rolling," Marston said. "When we get out on defense our offense comes. We have great court vision and so much team chemistry."

The Red Devils shot the lights out of the ball in the first half making 10-of-20 shots from inside the arc and another 6-of-13 from beyond.

Murphysboro’s defense forced Roosevelt into committing 10 turnovers in the first half with seven coming on steals while limiting the Roughriders to just 6-of-25 from the field, including 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Gaston got the game started with a putback at the six second mark and Gibbs swished a 3-pointer 33 seconds later to give Murphysboro a 5-0 lead. After Roosevelt split a pair of free throws Gaston hit a three to extend the lead to seven just 1:30 in.

The margin remained seven for the next four minutes when Marston started a seven-point run with a layup. Jacob Morgan followed with a putback and then canned a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left to give Murphysboro a 21-7 lead going into the second quarter.

The second quarter was back-and-forth with the Roosevelt cutting the lead to 12 three times before Murphysboro went on a 10-0 run to take a 22-point lead with 44 seconds left in the half.

Terrell Cannamore hit a jumper with 20 seconds left for Roosevelt to cut the halftime margin back to 20. Cannamore led the game with 20 points.

Roosevelt (0-2) could only manage to cut one point off the lead in the third quarter and another two points in the fourth.

"We’ve got a very young team, but we’ll get better," said Roosevelt coach Robert Nicholson. "They are still trying to grasp the things we’re trying to put into place, but we’ll be ok as we grow each game."

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