116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Hawkeyes / Iowa Basketball
Kris Murray back for Iowa as it faces Huskers and sellout Nebraska crowd
Murray returns after 4-game absence with foot issue, in time for Iowa to dive into Big Ten play
The band’s back together.
After four games without its leading scorer and one without its senior “glue guy,” the Iowa men’s basketball team heads into Big Ten season Thursday night at full-strength.
Kris Murray is back. He’ll try to help the Hawkeyes to put their shocking 92-83 loss to Eastern Illinois last week in the rearview mirror and capture a conference road win.
Iowa plays at Nebraska Thursday at 6:05 p.m. The Hawkeyes are 0-1 in the Big Ten, Nebraska 0-2. But one of the Huskers’ losses was in overtime against No. 1 Purdue, so there’s a healthy respect of Fred Hoiberg’s team by Fran McCaffery’s.
“I think everybody recognizes how good they are,” McCaffery said about the 7-6 Huskers. “We saw the Purdue game. That game could have gone either way.”
As its record indicates, Nebraska has been up and down. But it does own victories by double-digit margins over Creighton and two ACC teams, Boston College and Florida State.
“I’ve been impressed with them,” McCaffery said. “They are really connected. They defend. They have size. They put some pieces together.”
Six Huskers average between 9.4 and 14 points per game and four average at least five rebounds. The leading scorer/rebounder is 6-foot-9 senior Derrick Walker.
A difference-maker has been fifth-year senior transfer Sam Griesel of Lincoln, who averages 10.6 points and 4.3 assists. He played the last four years at North Dakota State and is no stranger to Iowa’s Filip Rebraca, who spent three seasons at North Dakota.
Rebraca averaged 21.5 points over the four games Murray missed, but Iowa went 2-2.
Murray, a junior forward, hasn’t played since Dec. 6. He is the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer (19.4 points per game) and rebounder (10.1). He certainly could have been useful in Iowa’s Dec. 11 overtime loss to Wisconsin as well as the Eastern Illinois game.
Murray practiced Monday and Tuesday with no ill effects. So did senior guard Connor McCaffery, the jack-of-all-trades who missed the Eastern Illinois contest with a wrist injury.
That loss was a bad way to go home for Christmas, but Fran McCaffery made it sound like there was no lingering negativity.
“They came back ready,” he said. “They’ve practiced hard. They were locked in. Everybody was here.”
Nebraska’s 15,500-seat downtown arena is sold out for Thursday’s game. With the Huskers’ football team not in a bowl, it’s basketball season in Lincoln.
Comments: (319) 398-8440; email@example.com