Following each Pitt men’s basketball game, we’ll bring you the Money Moment of the Game, brought to you by 7 Fields Wealth Management.
PITTSBURGH — As Pitt was in the midst of its second straight slow start on Saturday, in what became a 75-70 upset loss to Nicholls State, Panthers head coach Jeff Capel turned to his bench and inserted junior college transfer Ryan Murphy into the game.
Saturday might be the last time he does that for a while.
Murphy came into the game with 16:57 to play in the first half and did not leave for the rest of the game. He set career highs with 28 points and five rebounds. His 28 points tied a Pitt record for a bench player.
In a game where the Panthers were soundly outplayed by Nicholls State, Murphy was one of the few bright spots, building on his performance in the season opener against Florida State and cementing himself as a regular in the lineup.
Through two games, Murphy’s 41 points paces the Panthers, and he showed a more well-rounded game on Saturday, both with his rebounds and working more as an on-ball guard with Xavier Johnson in foul trouble.
Murphy was disappointed with his five turnovers in that role, and said he feels he can play even better.
“Five turnovers? That’s terrible,” he said. “I’ll probably go back and watch film and see where I messed up.”
But Murphy’s consistent presence from the outside has been a breath of fresh air for the Panthers when they’ve needed it most. Capel says it’s gone beyond that.
“Certainly, his ability to shoot the basketball,” Capel said. “I thought he played with passion. I though he tried to compete today. But we need everyone doing that. The really good offenses are when you have five guys playing together as one. We haven’t had that yet.”
When Pitt does have that, it will likely come with increased contributions from returning guards Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens, but there’s no question that “Murph” has earned himself a more prominent role going forward.