MURPHYSBORO — The Murphysboro boys basketball team used a 14-1 run in the third quarter to pull away from Harrisburg in a 76-57 victory Friday at the Ernie Bozarth Memorial Tournament.
Isaiah Saulsberry scored five points during a 7-0 Harrisburg run to slice the Murphysboro lead to just 40-33 with 3:25 left in the third period.
But all five Murphysboro starters scored baskets during the 14-1 run moments later.
“I thought our scoring was very well-proportioned, and we had a lot of guys do a lot of things,” said Murphysboro coach Daryl Murphy. “We had two good runs in the game. When they cut it to seven and we got that second run, that was excellent.”
Mishont Gibbs scored in transition to cap off the Murphysboro run. The Red Devils (2-0) saw their lead expand from seven points to 20 in less than three minutes.
“The same thing happened right at the end of the first half,” said Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters. “We had some turnovers, and I consider Murphysboro one of the top teams in the conference. We’re just trying to get better.”
Saulsberry scored 24 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. He started another 7-0 run for Harrisburg late in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs didn’t have quite enough.
“He is really good, and they’ve got some other good players,” Murphy said. “Once they get used to their system, they’ll be OK. If you’ve got the best player on the floor every night, you’re going to be able to do some stuff.”
The first half went back and forth most of the way. Carson Burtis made a basket for Harrisburg, which trailed just 24-19. But Jeremy House, Gibbs, and Jaron Gaston each made buckets to push the lead to 12 points for Murphysboro.
House led the Red Devils with 22 points, and Gibbs added 16. Tim Marston contributed 19 points as well.
“His job had been to rebound and set picks,” Murphy said of Marston. “He really had a nice summer for us, but now he’s able to do a lot of things for us.”
Hunter Smith added 10 points for Harrisburg (0-2).
“If we’ll start using our strengths we’ll be better,” Smithpeters said. “We can’t run up and down with teams.”