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Jamal Murray scores 33 but career outing not enough in No. 4 UK’s 74-67 loss to Ohio State


By Keith Taylor
KyForward sports writer

Jamal Murray did his part to keep fourth-ranked Kentucky from a total collapse, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a loss in the CBS Sports Classic Saturday in Brooklyn.

Murray connected on a career-high seven 3-pointers and scored 33 points, but the rest of the team did little else in a 74-67 loss to unranked Ohio State. Murray did most of his scoring in the second half after the Buckeyes had built a 16-point lead. The hot hand by Murray kept the contest from getting further out of hand.

 Jamal Murray celebrates with Tyler Ulis in the second half of a 74-67 loss to Ohio State Saturday (UK Athletics Photo)

Jamal Murray celebrates with Tyler Ulis in the second half of a 74-67 loss to Ohio State Saturday (UK Athletics Photo)

“I felt good out there today,” Murray said. “Unfortunately, it was in a loss but as a team, we need to figure out how to get wins in here. I felt good going into the game today. I still think I missed a lot of shots that I should have made, but I made up for it. I’m just more focused on the loss, leaving to go to Christmas on this loss is tough and we’re looking to come back and fix it.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn’t happy with the way Murray opened the game but liked the way his freshman guard played in the second half.

“He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s really talented,” Calipari said. “He can do some stuff with that ball. We’ve just got to get him playing right.”

BOXSCORE: Ohio State 74, Kentucky 67

The spurt in the second half by Murray drew praise from Ohio State coach Thad Matta.

“That was one of the best performances I’ve seen in such a short period of time,” he said. “He’s the one guy we feared coming in, as far as the capability to get hot.”

Marc Loving, who had 12 points for the Buckeyes, agreed.

“He got hot very fast,” Loving said. “You have to know where he is at all times.”

Murray, scored just six points in the first half, but made more field goals (13) than the rest of the team combined. Marcus Lee followed Murray with 12 points, while Tyler Ulis had 11.

Lee said Murray’s outing is what the Wildcats expect from the freshman guard in moving forward.

“That’s exactly what we need him to do,” 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.”

Although Murray turned in his best outing at Kentucky, Calipari said the Wildcats aren’t “playing winning basketball” going into Christmas break and Saturday’s showdown against instate rival Louisville.

“We still have to learn how to win,” he said. “We had the plays. First of all, we didn’t start the game. They were the aggressor and they came after us.”

Notes

* Ohio State’s nine 3-pointers were the most by a Kentucky opponent this season.

* Murray became the first player in school history to connect on a 3-pointer in their first 11 collegiate games.

* Lee just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Lee had two steals in a career-high 30 minutes.

* Skal Labissiere scored two points, grabbed five rebounds and collected two steals in 21 minutes. Labissiere made just one field goal on seven attempts from the field.

* Tyler Ulis scored the first seven points and dished out four assists.

Game tracker: Louisville at Kentucky, Saturday, noon. TV/Radio: CBS (Channel 27), 98.1 FM WBUL.

Keith Taylor is a columnist and senior sports writer who covers University of Kentucky athletics for KyForward.com


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