Hanging from the rafters in the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska are banners that tell of Great Alaska Shootout champions North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Butler and more. After
Saturday’s victory over Southern Mississippi, a Murray State banner will now be hung proclaiming their win in the 2011 championship series.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “Just the way they handled themselves on the trip, the character and discipline they showed as a team collectively is probably what I was most pleased about. Obviously the wins are great but the way other people talked about our program and our kids out there was extremely satisfying as a head coach.”
The Racers, shooting 80 percent at the free-throw line, defeated Alaska-Anchorage and San Francisco before clinching the championship game in double overtime, the first overtime for the Racers in 77 games. The high-intensity game showcased Murray State’s determination and passion, as the team was able to continue its undefeated season another night.
“I’m excited every game I get to coach in,” Prohm said. “In Southern Miss., that was just a fun game to be a part of and coach in. It wasn’t even pressure-rich so to speak; it was just fun. It was doing what you love to do and the players doing what they love to do and it was enjoying being a part of a great game we were fortunate enough to be able to win.”
Junior guard Isaiah Canaan earned MVP of the tournament while giving a career-high 36-point performance to help the team to triumph.
“He’s taking good shots,” Prohm said. “He’s forcing tempo, he’s doing a tremendous job leading our team but he’s got to continue to get better and not settle and our team does too. We’ve got a long way to go. “
The team spent this week focusing on academics before beginning workouts and practice Tuesday and preparing for the game against Western Kentucky Thursday. The team will next focus its attention on hosting Dayton (5-1) Sunday.
The Flyers average 75 points per game with a .459 field goal percentage and an average of 36.7 rebounds per game, and are also returning from a Thanksgiving tournament. The team is now champion of the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., where they beat Wake Forest and Fairfield before dominating the final game against Minnesota.
As of the Monday press conference, Prohm had not begun preparation for Dayton due to planning for Western, but said he was excited to host the Flyers.
“I’m excited to have Dayton here at home, Archie Miller is doing a tremendous job for his first year,” Prohm said. “I know they’re doing very good, it’s an opportunity to have a great home game for the fans here and it’s an opportunity for us to have a great non-conference game.”
Tipoff for the game is 1 p.m. Sunday in the CFSB Center.