Twenty-seven points from sophomore Keegan Murray propelled the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to an 86-69 victory over North Carolina Central on Tuesday night on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Murray finished the game with 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting and made 9-of-10 free throws and grabbed 21 rebounds for his first career double-double. He is the first Hawkeye to go for 20/20 since Bruce King (31/20) on Jan. 27, 1977.
Sophomore Patrick McCaffery scored 15 points and reserves Tony Perkins (13 points) and Ahron Ulis (12) points combined for 25 points, six rebounds and five assists.
It was a close contest most of the way, with both teams trading leads through the first 10 minutes of play. Patrick McCaffery drained a 3 at the 10:18 mark and followed it up with a fastbreak layup to give the Hawkeyes a 15-point lead in the first half.
The Eagles clawed to within three in the final minute of the period, however, before a Ulis buzzer-beater made the score 49-44 heading into the locker room.
The teams continued trading blows, but Iowa never trailed in the second half. The Hawkeyes pulled away in the final four minutes of the game as a pair of Murray free throws gave Iowa an 82-67 advantage with 3:58 left to play; Iowa led by at least 15 points the rest of the way.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“Every game is different; this team has nine transfers and they’re all juniors and seniors. They were all very athletic, had length, were deep, and played physical. They had 30 fouls and that’s not something you see every day. Our team came in here expecting to be physical and expecting them to get up into us and we had to deal with it.
“I thought we hung in there and our ball screen defense in the first half was not good. I was pleased with the production we got off the bench and I thought Patrick was good and Keegan was really good, you don’t see to many lines like his getting 27, 21, and four blocks.”
Sophomore forward Keegan Murray registered his first career double-double, totaling game and career bests in scoring (27) and rebounds (21). He also blocked a game-best four shots. Murray has netted 24+ points in each of Iowa’s first three games this season.
Murray is the first Hawkeye since Greg Brunner in 2006 to grab 20+ rebounds in a game; Brunner had 23 against Minnesota on Jan. 18, 2006.
Murray is the first major conference player with 27+ points, 21+ rebounds, and 4+ blocks since Kansas State’s Michael Beasley versus Sacramento State on Nov. 9, 2007.
Jordan Bohannon sank one 3-pointer to tie Ohio State’s Jon Diebler (2008-11) for first in all-time 3-pointers made in Big Ten history with 374.
Iowa was 35-of-41 from the free throw line in tonight’s win. The 35 makes are the most in a game by the Hawkeyes since making 39 versus Indiana in 2017.
Keegan Murray made his first nine free throw attempts before missing his 10th attempt tonight, snapping a streak of 21 consecutive free throws made, dating back to last season.
Tony Perkins (13 points) and Ahron Ulis (12 points) shined off the bench for the Hawkeyes, each netting a career high in points. Ulis also had a team-best four assists, while Perkins was credited with a team-best three steals.
Patrick McCaffery netted a season-best 15 points. The redshirt sophomore has scored in double figures in all three games this season.
Iowa’s largest scoring run was 15-0 in the first half. The Hawkeyes have had scoring runs of 10-0 or more a combined six times in three games.
Iowa improved to 3-0 all-time against North Carolina Central.
Iowa (3-0) returns to action on Thursday against Alabama State (0-4). Tipoff is scheduled for 6:01 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Coverage starts at 5 p.m. on 830AM/95.1FM KWPC, The Voice of Muscatine. Tickets are available for purchase at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.