Murphy making double impact
Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:33 a.m.
Even when Erik Murphy's machine-like form wavered just a bit, he still got the friendly roll off the rim.
One of the senior's 3-pointers in the second half seemingly touched every part of the hoop and even the backboard before falling in.
Even Murphy, who made 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in Florida's 78-64 win over Ole Miss and has made 11-of-14 over the last three games, has a hard time explaining it.
“I don't know,” said Murphy, who had a team-high 19 points. “It's going in. I don't know, I'm really ... just making shots.”
By the time Murphy's last 3-pointer left his hands with 6:55 to go in the game, the 12,522 in attendance at the O'Connell Center weren't surprised to see it go in.
But it's what the senior did immediately after on the other end of the floor that has become an unexpected trend for No. 4 Florida this season.
On the Rebels' ensuing possession, a reverse-layup by forward Murphy Holloway was blocked by Murphy, who held his own all game against one of the most imposing frontcourts in the SEC.
“If you pay attention to scouting and you start to see the floor moving, you can start to figure out what's getting ready to happen and what's getting ready to come,” coach Billy Donovan said. “And I think he's gotten better at sniffing out plays, sniffing out actions before they happen based on how the floor is moving.”
Murphy did more than help Patric Young in the duo's battle inside against the 6-foot-7, 240-pound Holloway and 6-foot-9, 235-pound Reginald Buckner. The two dominated the interior, outrebounding Ole Miss 32-24 and outscoring the Rebels 34-20 in the paint.
“Those two guys are definitely physical. You can just look at them and tell. You can't really push them around like that,” said Murphy, who padded his big night offensively with six rebounds (two offensive), two blocks, a steal and also took a charge. “A big focus was trying to keep them off the glass and keep second-chance points to a minimum.”
Holloway and the rest of his Rebel teammates came to realize how deadly Murphy is on the offensive end as well.
Murphy entered Saturday's game leading the SEC in 3-point percentage by a wide margin, knocking them down at a 48.7 percent clip. The next best shooter from beyond the arc in the SEC is LSU's Andre Stringer (42.6 percent).
The dilemma he caused for Ole Miss — as a pick-setter with his ability to roll off the pick to the basket or drift back to the 3-point line — is one of the many reasons the Gators are 18-2, 8-0 at this point in the season.
But Murphy believes defense is still the key to unlocking the Gators' potential.
“We can be really good, we've just got to keep up our focus,” Murphy said. “We've just got to keep guarding. It's the biggest thing. There's going to be nights when the ball doesn't go in like it did tonight, and we've got to hold teams under their average.”