Cats fall despite Murray’s second half battle



By Jordan Ondrof

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Jamal Murray’s late game heroics proved not enough to save the Cats from a disappointing loss in Brooklyn.

UK (9-2) lost its second game of the season to Ohio State University (6-5) 74-67 on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.

“It’s just disappointing,” head coach John Calipari said. “I want them to be farther along than they are, but we’re where we are right now.”

The Cats came out of the gate slow and lifeless, taking bad shots causing them to fall behind early. UK was down by 12 at the half after Ohio State hit a three point buzzer beater.

“It would have been nice for them to come out of the gate and play better to start the game and not look passive. We were on our heels,” Calipari said. “We really were. And then they make some shots. Like I told them at halftime, I’m not worried about them making shots. I’m worried about how we ended the half.”

The deficit proved to be too much for even an on-fire Jamal Murray to overcome. Murray lead the team with a career-high 33 points, 27 coming in the second half. Murray was 7-8 from beyond the arc in the second half, pulling the Cats within reach.

“That’s exactly what we need (Murray) to do,” junior Marcus Lee said. “We need that fire at all points of the game. We can’t light it under him and then he goes, just so we can start going. We need him to start picking it up earlier and getting into it earlier.”

The Cats were able to cut Ohio State’s lead to three with three minutes remaining, but weren’t able to close the gap.

This was the first game in which the newest Cat Tai Wynyard was eligible. After only being in Lexington for less than 48 hours, the 17-year-old went to New York with the team. He didn’t see any time on the court, as Wednesday was the first time Calipari saw him play in person.

The Cats have a couple of days off to spend the holidays with their families before playing Louisville on December 26.

“Louisville is always a big game for us. It’s in-state rivalry. We have a really long way to go from our goal, and Louisville is just another game, another step for us to get to,” Lee said.