116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — At one point, Keegan Murray had outscored Longwood Tuesday night, 22-20.
It wasn’t sustainable. Mainly because Murray was taken out of Iowa’s season-opening men’s basketball game with 2:27 left in the first half, allowing the Lancers to take a 29-22 halftime lead on the sophomore forward from Cedar Rapids.
Iowa led 56-29 on the real Carver-Hawkeye Arena scoreboard en route to a 106-73 season-opening win. Murray had 24 points — 10 more than his previous high — before getting taken out for good with 13:31 left.
He played a mere 17 minutes, but found time for another career-high with five blocked shots.
“He’s been pretty consistent, shooting and driving it, protecting the rim, traffic rebounds,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “Defensively, I think he’s been very good. Five blocks, uses his length well.”
The announced attendance was 9,259. The number who actually attended saw Murray appeared ready and able to make the move to focal point from Sixth Man last season, when he did an admirable job supporting National Player of the Year Luka Garza.
In the first half alone, Murray made a career-high three 3-pointers. He also drew several fouls, like Garza did game after game last season.
“For me, the first year I was really playing a role to help the team win,” Murray said. “That was defense and rebounding.
“This year I just feel like if I can keep my confidence up all the time I can be more successful.”
It’s hard to tell if Murray is feeling confidence or anything else. There’s a competitive fire, but he keeps it inside.
“He just kind of does it with seemingly no fanfare, no emotions,” McCaffery said, “but he’s really concentrated out there. He’s really thinking. He’s a thinker.
“Sometimes I’ve got to tell him to just relax and just go hoop. That’s when he’s at his best.”
Murray’s twin, Kris Murray, had 16 points in 17 minutes to double his scoring output for his entire freshman season. Both brothers had seven rebounds.
Then there was a guy who had made a few 3s in his day, firing them in left and right (and top of the key) Tuesday. Sixth-year senior Jordan Bohannon made six treys in the game’s first 24 minutes and scored 18 points.
He has 370 career 3-pointers, four shy of the Big Ten record held by Jon Diebler of Ohio State (2007-11). Diebler played in 144 games. Tuesday was Bohannon’s 144th.
"The main reason I came back, obviously I wanted to lead this team to the NCAA tournament and make a run in the NCAA tournament,“ Bohannon said. ”But at the end of the day, fans make college basketball.
“It’s pretty surreal to see after 600-plus days not seeing families after games, seeing fans in the stands, being able to fist-bump that are wearing your jersey on the sideline. It’s just something I missed personally.”
Iowa hosts Kansas City Friday at 7:05 p.m. The Kangaroos lost at Minnesota Tuesday, 71-56.
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