Kris Murray’s career night lifts Iowa men’s basketball over Omaha

The junior forward finished the night with 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting in 29 minutes of action.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa forward Kris Murray shoots a layup during a basketball game between Iowa and Omaha at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. Murray recorded a career-high 30 points. The Hawkeyes defeated the Mavericks, 100-64.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

The No. 25 Iowa men’s basketball team improved to 4-0 on Monday night with a 100-64 victory over Omaha at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

Up 10-9 after the first 6:25 of action, the Hawkeyes outscored the Mavericks, 90-55 over the final 33:35 and led, 49-28, at the half. 

Iowa junior forward Kris Murray tallied a career-high 30 points on 13-of-17 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. He grabbed seven rebounds and tallied two blocks in just over 29 minutes of action. 

Murray had his first attempt of the night blocked, missed his final shot of the evening, and went 13-of-15 in between, including a run of 11 straight made field goals. 

“I got myself in a rhythm early, just easy baskets, open jump shots, it just came to me, I guess,” Murray said postgame. “Just different areas where I could affect the game is what I want to do and that had to be scoring today to just give us a jumpstart.”

Murray scored all but five of his points in the first half on 11-13 shooting — 85 percent —  and 3-of-4 from 3-point land. 

“It just was easy,” Iowa junior forward Patrick McCaffery said of Murray’s career-high. “That’s kind of what makes those guys really good is if it looks easy … and it looked like that for Kris. I’m not saying like people are forgetting to guard him, that’s obviously not the case. You know, just looks easy, they’re smooth … Kris is rolling like that, he’s been rolling the last few games, we’re going to throw him the ball.”

Murray equaled his previous career-high of 29 points on Nov. 16 in an 83-67 win over Seton Hall.

RELATED: Iowa men’s basketball defeats Seton Hall in first road test of season

After his first shot was rejected Monday night, Murray made Iowa’s first six field goals of the contest and seven of the Hawkeyes’ first eight. 

“I would have liked to have left him in there and he could’ve really gone for a big number, but I’m not gonna get him hurt, so I got him out of there,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “But, I mean, he was really cooking there for a while. 

“The good thing is we really started looking for him. That’s what you gotta do. You got a guy that’s going good like that, you gotta load him up. You gotta wait and get it to him. Don’t quick-shoot the ball when you got a guy on fire like that. Let it happen, keep going to him.”

Murray picked up the slack as junior guard Tony Perkins — the Hawkeyes’ third-leading scorer through the season’s first three games — missed Monday’s game with an injury. 

Perkins out with injury

Originally called a thigh injury by Hawkeye Athletics, Fran McCaffery said Perkins’ injury was to the lower leg. 

Fran McCaffery said he’s hopeful Perkins will play Friday when Iowa takes on Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but sad Perkins is “Really hurting right now.” Fran McCaffery said Perkins’ injury accumulated over time.

In Perkins’s absence, junior Ahron Ulis made his first career start at point guard and totaled seven points and four assists in 21 minutes. 

“It was a big opportunity for me,” Uhlis said. I’ve been trying to start my whole life. That’s a dream come true for most people growing up, and I just went out there and took the opportunity and ran with it.”

Big Picture

Iowa moved into the AP Top 25 before Monday’s game and improved to 4-0 on the season with the win. The Hawkeyes’ next six games will be against Power Five opponents, after facing just one over the first four games of the year. 

Up next

Iowa will return to the floor on Nov. 25 against Clemson in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Clemson is 4-1 this season.

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