Murray stays hot against Vols

Head coach John Calipari shakes hands with Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes.

Anthony Crawford

Freshman Jamal Murray put his scoring abilities on display again in the rematch with the Tennessee Volunteers. His 28 points powered UK to an 80-70 win and the Cats are starting to look like a contender with him boasting a 26 points per game average over UK’s last three outings.

The Canadian guard has been just as important for UK as its player of the year candidate, Tyler Ulis. With Ulis struggling to score, going 3-for-15 from the field, Murray picked up his slack by shooting an efficient 8-for-12 from the field and adding nine rebounds and two assists.

“It’s all strategy. I have to be more aggressive and strong,” Murray said. “I’m getting better on my shot selection and making more shots.”

John Calipari worries that Murray falls in love with his jumper too often, even though he is shooting at a 40.3 percent clip from deep. The freshman responded tonight by focusing on driving and getting to the free throw line. He was able to go 9-or-10 from the charity stripe.

“When the team was in a hole I was driving the ball and drawing fouls,” Murray said. “Overall, I liked the way I played.”

Murray’s recent scoring stretch has been good enough to not only have him listed among great freshman of the past under Calipari, but leading them in scoring with a 19.2 points per game average.

UK hasn’t seen a freshman score at this high of a volume since Brandon Knight, and Murray is on track to beat his record of 28-games in doubles-figures in a single season as this game against the Vols makes 24 for Murray. 

“It’s exactly what we want, how we want him to play,” Calipari said. “I thought he played an outstanding game.”