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In Iowa's first game without Luka Garza, a worthy successor may have been revealed in Keegan Murray.
A productive bench player last season, Murray opened 2021-22 with 24 points in 17 minutes in Tuesday's victory against Longwood. The sophomore forward will look to follow up that performance Friday night when the Hawkeyes welcome the Kansas City Roos to Iowa City.
"I thought he showed that he can play inside and outside," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "He can make threes, he can dribble, drive and create something but also get offensive rebound putbacks."
While Garza averaged 24.1 points last season, Murray averaged 7.2 points in 31 games (four starts). Asked to help fill the void this year, Murray had 22 points before halftime and added seven rebounds and five blocks in the 106-73 rout of Longwood. He made 8 of 10 shots from the field with three 3-pointers.
"All the work I put in this offseason has really helped my confidence," Murray said. "This year, if I can keep my confidence up all the time, then I can be more successful."
Iowa also got productive nights from Jordan Bohannon and Kris Murray, Keegan's brother. Bohannon hit six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points while Murray posted a career-high 16 points to go along with seven rebounds as Iowa held the Lancers to 35.1 percent shooting.
Kansas City (0-1) is facing its second straight Big Ten foe and is hoping to finish what it could not do at Minnesota when it hung around before taking a 71-56 loss on Tuesday night.
Kansas City coach Billy Donlon began his third season by watching his team use a 17-8 run to get within 54-52 with 7:42 remaining before allowing a game-ending 17-4 run.
Josiah Allick, who was named to the Summit League's first team in the preseason, scored 21 points while going the distance but it was not enough as the Roos allowed 27 points off 12 turnovers.
Kansas City is facing Iowa for the third time. In the most recent meeting, Iowa claimed a 77-63 victory on Nov. 8, 2018.
--Field Level Media