Texas Southern senior forward Aaric Murray is now playing at his third college, with his move to the SWAC school being preceded by stops at La Salle and West Virginia. There’s no doubt that Murray possesses a lot of talent, but maturity issues shortened his stay at each of those first two schools.
On Wednesday night Murray led Texas Southern to a 90-89 win at Temple with 48 points and eight rebounds, with the point total a new high in college basketball this season. Murray’s career-high surpassed the 43 points Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky scored in a win over North Dakota on November 19. He shot 20-for-28 from the field, and he also set the Liacouras Center record for points scored in a game, eclipsing the 43 points scored by former Temple guard Lynn Greer in 2002.
Murray entered Wednesday’s game averaging 22.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest, and from a talent standpoint he’s the best player in the SWAC. Mike Davis’ team was the preseason pick to win the league after going 16-2 in conference play last season, with low APR numbers resulting in a postseason ban.
With Murray leading the way and forward Jose Rodriguez and guard Ray Penn also being double-digit scorers (forward DeAngelo Scott scored 15 points on Wednesday), the Tigers have the pieces needed to make good on the preseason promise.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.