PITTSBURGH — With just a few seconds left in a tie game against Boston College on Wednesday night, Ryan Murphy was suddenly transported back home to California.
Not in the literal sense.
But as Pitt freshman Justin Champagnie slipped a pass to Murphy with less than 10 seconds to play, he was reminded of his training regiment at home.
The game that he played there with his workout partners was a fast one: three seconds. Catch, dribble, shoot. That’s all there’s time for in three seconds.
That’s all Murphy needed to on Wednesday night, as he grabbed Champagnie’s feed in stride, took two dribbles and pulled up for a jump shot from just outside the free-throw line. It rattled home, giving the Panthers a dramatic 74-72 victory over the Eagles.
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“In the summer, when I work out with my friends and stuff in California, we play one-on-one with three seconds,” Murphy said after the game. “When you catch it, it’s three, two, one. … My trainer back home, we just work on that kind of stuff.
“It’s weird, you don’t think anything of it and then you get in that situation and it makes sense. I’ve worked on it a lot.”
It’s a good thing for Pitt that Murphy’s training regimen including such heroics. After the Eagles tied the game, Pitt moved the ball down the floor, but leading scorers Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson were both plastered by BC’s best defenders.
That left Champagnie and Murphy open with easier matchups, and the quick Murphy backed up the big man with the threat of a drive before stopping and shooting.
“I work on that shot about every day,” Murphy said. “Justin gave me a good pass. The big man kept backing up. I was just like, shoot it.”
Pitt had a timeout, but head coach Jeff Capel trusted in his players to get the job done.
“I didn’t want them to set their defense,” he said. “I thought they were scattered. They didn’t know the matchup. The matchups were off, they were odd. In situations like that, I think you get a chance to get a better shot.”