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Michael Murray returns to Coppin State basketball, but coach Fang Mitchell says senior has work to do

The Coppin State men’s basketball team dropped a pair of decisions to national powerhouses over Thanksgiving weekend, but there was at least one positive.

Senior forward Michael Murray returned from a broken right (shooting) hand and made his season debut in Friday’s 87-45 loss to No. 22 Michigan. He scored four points on 1-for-8 shooting, including 0-for-5 from the 3-point arc, and grabbed four rebounds in 23 minutes.

Murray made his first start in Sunday’s 86-51 loss to then-No. 11 Gonzaga and had eight points on 4-for-13 shooting and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

Eagles head coach Fang Mitchell said Murray showed some rust from being unable to practice because of a cast on his hand that kept him out of the first four games of the year.

“I’d say he has some more work to do, a lot more work to do,” Mitchell said Tuesday afternoon. “He’s really only practiced two times, and he was in two games. You could tell that his timing was off, his feel of the game was off. We recognized that from the beginning, but we felt he needed to play right away to give him as much time as possible to get his timing back. He wasn’t in game shape at all. We had to take him out a lot of times. But he did bring a good defensive presence. He is a pretty good defender, and that’s one of the areas where we were weak at. You might not be able to tell by the scores, but he did do a pretty good job in that area.”

Mitchell estimated that it would take Murray at least a few more weeks before he could regain the form that helped him lead Coppin State (2-4) in scoring (12.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.9) last season.

But Mitchell said he has no plans to limit Murray’s minutes to prevent him from putting the healed hand at risk.

“To be honest with you, I’m going to try to get him as many minutes as I can because of the fact that with the [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference] coming up, I want to make sure that he has some playing time, because that is of the utmost importance for us,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to let him play.”

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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