Kris Murray scored a career-high 30 points as No. 25 Iowa defeated Omaha 100-64 in an Emerald Coast Classic preliminary game in Iowa City on Monday night.
Murray, coming off matching his previous career high with 29 points in the Hawkeyes’ 83-67 win at Seton Hall last Wednesday, had his first shot blocked by Omaha’s Dylan Brougham 86 seconds into the game.
Murray then proceeded to hit 11 consecutive shots on his way to a 25-point first half. He didn’t miss until a 3-point attempt with 34 seconds left in the half rolled off the rim.
“I’ve never had a run like that in my life,” Murray said. “It was kind of cool to just be in that moment.”
“I got myself in a rhythm early — just easy baskets, open jump shots,” he said. “It gives me a lot of confidence, knowing I can score at different levels and that it’s going to be tough to stop me.”
The junior finished 13 of 17 from the field and added seven rebounds.
“We weren’t getting easy baskets early, and then Kris gets a hundred of them,” forward Patrick McCaffery said. “It just looked easy.”
The Mavericks had no defensive answer for Murray.
“We were on our heels trying to guard him,” Omaha coach Chris Crutchfield said. “He’s skilled. And he’s quick. Once a guy like that gets going, it’s hard to contain him.”
Murray’s twin brother Keegan, who was fourth in the nation in scoring last season at 23.5 points per game, left the Hawkeyes after last season and was the No. 4 pick overall by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA draft.
Kris Murray has been asked about the comparisons to his brother since the beginning of the season.
“He had a really good season last year, and it would be easy to, like, follow in his shadow,” he Murray said. “I know that I’m not the same person as him. I’m doing my own thing at Iowa. I think it’s two different players, two different people. I think it’s just kind of motivation to do what he did just a little bit more.”
Said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery: “Nothing bothers him.”
“He got 29 (last week), got 30 tonight. He doesn’t pay attention to (the comparisons),” he said.
Patrick McCaffery had 16 points for Iowa (4-0) and Connor McCaffery had 12. The Hawkeyes moved into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season earlier in the day.
The Hawkeyes led 49-28 at halftime. Iowa, which came into the game ranked eighth nationally in scoring at 94.7 points per game, reached the 100-point mark for the second time this season.
Iowa outrebounded Omaha 40-29 and had 24 assists on 36 field goals.
Jaeden Marshall led Omaha (1-4) with nine points and Akol Arop added eight. Brougham blocked seven shots.
Iowa was without starting point guard Tony Perkins, who missed the game with a leg injury.
Perkins is averaging 13.3 points this season. He had 16 assists to lead the Hawkeyes through the first three games.
Ahron Ulis made his first career start in Perkins’ place. Ulis played 21 minutes, scoring seven points to go with four assists.
“It was a big opportunity for me,” Ulis said.
The Hawkeyes got off to a slow start before Murray took over. Murray was 6 of 7 at one point, while the rest of the team was 1 of 8 from the field. But Iowa settled in to shoot 55.4% for the game heading into Emerald Coast Classic games with Clemson on Friday and either TCU or California on Saturday.
Omaha: Plays Louisiana Monroe on Friday in the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida.
Iowa: Plays Clemson on Friday in the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida.