Murray drops 48 on Temple in Texas Southern win

Murray drops 48 on Temple in Texas Southern win
December 18, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Aaric Murray scored 48 points, most ever against Temple, in Texas Southern's 90-89 win Wednesday night. (USA Today Images)


Aaric Murray went to La Salle. He got kicked out of La Salle.

He went to West Virginia. He got kicked out of West Virginia.

And five years after the start of his college basketball career, he wound up at the Liacouras Center on a Wednesday night in December with Texas Southern.

Thought of as a potential NBA prospect while in high school, Murray's college basketball career isn't the road less traveled. It's the road nobody's traveled. 

Fitting, because no one has ever scored more points against the Temple Owls.

Murray set an all-time record for the most points ever scored in a game against Temple, dropping 48 in a 90-89 Texas Southern win (see Instant Replay).

"It was very impressive, obviously," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said before adding, "It wasn't much fun to watch."

La Salle’s Steve Black and Muhlenberg’s Gary Spengler shared the previous single-game record vs. Temple. Black had 40 against Temple in 1983 and Spengler had the same in 1964. Sorry to Steve and Gary.

Sorry also to Lynn Greer, who previously held the record for the most points ever scored in a game at the Liacouras Center, with 43. That record now also belongs to Murray.

And finally, apologies to Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky, who scored 43 in a game earlier this year. The most points scored in any Division I game this season -- Murray's 48.

"I was just feeling good," Murray, who finished 20 of 28 from the field, said. "I just wanted to play well, play hard and get the win with my team."

The win is Texas Southern's fourth this season. Temple is now in the company of Norfolk State, Howard and Wiley. In fairness, TSU -- without Murray, who was still a Mountaineer -- went 16-2 in the SWAC last year and probably would have made the NCAA tournament had they not been ineligible under NCAA sanction.

"I think we should probably play all our games in Philadelphia," Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said.

With the loss, Temple is now 4-5 and doesn't appear to have any way to stop a talented big man. Towson's Jerrelle Benimon burned the Owls for 32 points and 10 rebounds earlier this season.

Murray came into the game averaging 22.2 points. He had 21 at the half.

"Trying to deal with that? They went to him every time," Temple center Anthony Lee said. "I had to try to contain him. Obviously we didn't [do] a very good -- I didn't do a very good job. I won't put it on nobody else.

“They went to him every time, so he had a lot of chances to go right at me. But, I mean, what can you do when they go to you every time?"

Lee -- who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four fouls -- later tweeted: "Just wanna apologize to my team and the fans. You can put this loss on me. Should've fouled out [before] letting [what] happened [tonight] happen."

Davis, formerly of Indiana and UAB, admitted his team's offense is to look for Murray every time down low. Most teams, he said, have tried to "triple-team" Murray. Others, he said, have left TSU's other four guys wide open as they collapse five on Murray.

Temple didn't do anything like that Wednesday night. The Owls and the 4,682 in attendance just watched the best homecoming the Mount Airy native could have ever hoped for.

"Our options were … we needed a few other thoughts for him," Dunphy said, when asked if he felt he had "exhausted" all his defensive options for Murray.

"But also, we just weren't as solid as we needed to be on him. You can make as many excuses as you want. We didn't play good enough defense."

Which is a shame because Temple did a lot of things well offensively Wednesday night. The Owls rallied back from as much as 14 down in the second half to finally take their very first lead of the game, 89-88, with 15.6 seconds to play on a pair of Lee free throws.

It was hard to believe, in that moment, that Temple was going to win a game after failing to once hold a lead for the preceding 39 minutes and 45 seconds. Turns out, it wasn't going to.

Daniel Dingle was whistled for a loose ball foul in a wild scrum at Temple's end of the court with 6.4 seconds left. TSU's Medarious Gibbs, who finished with 10 assists, proceeded to make both free throws, putting his team ahead for good.

The Owls' Dalton Pepper appeared to win the game at the buzzer on a put-back after a missed Will Cummings three, but referees waved off the basket and a video review showed the shot was too late.

So lost in the shuffle was a good shooting night, a gutty comeback and a career-high 19 points for sophomore Quenton DeCosey, who finished 8 of 9 from the field in the best game of his college career.

But of course all that was lost. DeCosey trailed Murray by 29 points and Temple, which shot 56 percent from the floor, allowed Texas Southern to shoot 59.3.

Leave it to Aaric Murray. 

On his third school in five years, and, somehow, he shows up back in Philly on a Wednesday night in December.

And drops 48.

Here, his third coach will explain it to you: "I think he's one the best, if not the best big man in the country."

Five years later. Aaric Murray.