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Mustangs complete comeback over I-35

MURRAY — It looked like Murray was in danger of suffering its second loss in a week here on Jan. 24, as Interstate 35 led by as many as 14 points in the first half, taking a 31-20 lead into halftime.

But, the Mustangs stormed back thanks to a 14-0 run to end the third quarter, and took advantage of Interstate 35’s foul trouble in the fourth quarter to pull out a 50-45 win.

Murray improved to 18-1 with the win, while Interstate 35 dropped to 11-4 with the loss.

“It was a snowball,” Interstate 35 head coach Nate Rankin said. “When we didn’t get what we needed, it just seemed like we threw the ball away. But they’re a good team. You can’t give them opportunities and not expect them to step up and make shots.”

The Mustangs trailed 38-24 with just under 4:00 left in the third quarter when Austin Halls hit Sam Rockhold for a basket. Murray followed that play up with three straight 3-pointers — one from Eddie Otto and two by Cody Scroggie — and a three-point play by Halls to close the quarter on a 14-0 run, sending it to the fourth tied at 38-38.

“That’s what it boiled down to — we finally hit shots,” head coach Darin Wookey said. “Eddie stuck one from the corner and Cody had two, and we finally got it going.”

A big key to the victory was Andrew Rider’s defense on Interstate 35’s talented guards Jaylan and Jamal White.

The two White brothers combined to score 34 of the Roadrunners’ 45 points, but Rider’s on-ball defense in the second half led to several turnovers, which helped key Murray’s comeback.

“If I had to give a game ball out tonight, and I told him in the locker room, I’d give it to Andrew Rider,” Wookey said. “He played absolutely tremendous on-ball defense tonight. We got a couple of steals late in the game, and it was because of Andrew’s on-ball defense. It wasn’t because of the guy who got the steal, it was because of the on-ball defense from him. He just did a tremendous job tonight.”

The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth early in the fourth quarter before Murray took a 46-42 lead after a Matt Johnston tip-in and two free throws from Rider.

Jamal White answered with one free throw and Nick Schaffer had an offensive rebound and putback to cut the lead to 46-45, but Scroggie and Halls each made two free throws down the stretch to finish out the victory.

Interstate 35 led 31-20 at halftime as Halls accumulated 17 of Murray’s 20 first-half points and the Mustangs recorded just seven total rebounds in the first half.

“We had a nice little chat at halftime, and we finally got woke up and decided to play a little basketball,” Wookey said. “We knew we were going to have to get on a run.”

INTERSTATE 35 (45) — Jaylan White 8 2-5 20, Jamal White 5 3-6 14, Mitchell Morris 1 0-2 3, Colton Clarke 2 0-0 4, Zach Goering 1 0-2 2, Nick Schaffer 1 0-2 2. Totals — 18 5-15 45. 3-point goals — 4 (Jaylan White 2). Team fouls — 25. Fouled out — Jaylan White, Jamal White.

MURRAY (50) — Austin Halls 6 14-18 26, Cody Scroggie 2 4-4 10, Sam Rockhold 1 2-2 4, Andrew Rider 1 2-6 4, Eddie Otto 1 1-2 4, Matt Johnston 1 0-0 2. Totals — 12 23-32 50. 3-point goals — 3 (Scroggie 2, Otto 1). FG shooting — 12-39 (30.7 percent). Rebounds — 24 (Rockhold 8, Johnston 7).  Assists — 4 (Halls 2, Scroggie 2). Steals — 9 (Halls 5, Rider 2). Turnovers — 15. Team fouls — 21. Fouled out  — Johnston.

I-35 — 15 31 38 45

Murray — 8 20 38 50

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