UK BASKETBALL | Should Jamal Murray have stayed in the game vs. Ottawa to finish triple-double?
11/03/2015 08:06 PM
LEXINGTON — All the Wildcats looked good in Kentucky’s 117-58 runaway exhibition victory over Ottawa University on Monday night at Rupp Arena, but the brightest star of the night was freshman Jamal Murray.
Playing in his first competitive game for UK, the highly-touted Canadian guard messed around and came up one assist short of posting a rare triple-double. Murray finished the night with game highs in points (22) and rebounds (12) while also dishing out nine assists.
Only one triple-double has been recorded in Kentucky’s storied basketball history, coming from Chris Mills in 1998 vs. Austin Peay (19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). Since the Ottawa game was only an exhibition, any completed triple-double would not have counted in the official record books, but it still would have been fun to see, regardless.
UK head coach John Calipari put Murray — still stuck on his ninth assist — on the bench for the final 3:30 of the game, claiming he didn’t know how close Jamal was to completing the elusive triple-double.
- “I didn’t know,” Calipari claimed after the game. “I knew he was rebounding the ball. Let me explain to you. He hadn’t done that in any practice. Like it’s a mistake that he did it because if he doesn’t rebound now, I’m going to be all over him.”
Murray’s teammates, however, were aware of what was going on, and wanted Jamal to stay in the game to pick up his 10th and final assist.
- “We needed him in three more minutes so he can get that triple-double,” junior forward Marcus Lee said. “He’s a killer; that’s what he does. He makes sure he does everything possible to win the game.”
Murray, a five-star prospect and No. 12 overall player from the 2015 recruiting class, attributed his stellar performance to the early on-court chemistry he’s already developed with the other Wildcats.
- “I had fun playing today and look forward to playing more with this great group of guys,” Murray said. “We had a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to going again tomorrow.”