Monday, January 25, 2016

Jamal Murray Tabbed SEC Freshman of The Week

 Freshman sharpshooter Jamal Murray was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week after helping lead UK to a pair of double-digit wins at Arkansas and against Vanderbilt this week.

Murray averaged 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the two wins. Today’s honor marks the second such award of his career.

The Kitchener, Ontario native continued to be a threat offensively while emphasizing his defensive performance in the two wins this week. Murray and Co. helped lead UK to its first win in Arkansas under the direction of John Calipari on Thursday. Murray poured in 19 points and added seven rebounds. He also contributed a block and a steal in the victory.

Murray followed up that performance less than 48 hours later with 18 points, including three 3-pointers, while adding seven more rebounds, three steals, and another block in the impressive rout of Vanderbilt.

Two of Murray’s four total blocks on the season have come in the last two games. He has also swiped at least one ball in seven consecutive outings with at least three steals in two of his last three games.

Murray continues his hot streak from behind the arc by connecting on at least one 3-pointer in all 19 games this season. He’s the only player in program history to knock down at least one 3-pointer in each of his first 19 collegiate games. It’s also the longest such streak of made 3-pointers for any player since Doron Lamb hit at least one in 20 consecutive games throughout the 2011-12 season.

Furthermore, Murray has scored at least 12 points in 18 of his first 19 UK games. Only Cotton Nash in 1961-62 and Bill Spivey in 1949-50 had better starts. Nash had 12 or more points in 35 of his first 36 games, while Spivey posted 12 or more points in 24 of his first 25 outings.

Kentucky has now won an SEC award a league-high six times. Murray and teammate Tyler Ulis lead the Wildcats with two SEC honors. Ulis previously won SEC Player of the Week honors twice while freshman forward Skal Labissiere and freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe have both picked up SEC Freshman of the Week this season.

Kentucky returns home Wednesday in a 9 p.m. tilt with Missouri. The game will air live on the SEC Network.

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