Pitt guard Ryan Murphy has been noticeably struggling to produce on the court lately, as he has been held scoreless in four of his last five games, including Saturday’s 59-56 loss to Virginia. His only points in his last five games came against Florida State, but even then, he only managed two in an 82-67 loss.
During the five-game stretch, Murphy has scored a total of two points in 61 minutes and gone 1-for-13 from the field, including 0-for-7 from three-point range. His average has dipped from 10.6 points per game prior to the five-game stretch to 8.6 points per game on the season at this point, making him the least productive guard in Pitt’s regular rotation.
After Pitt’s matchup with Virginia, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel was asked about Murphy’s recent scoring struggles and shared his thoughts on the issue.
Ryan Murphy was held scoreless for the fourth time in 5 games (had 2 points in the outlier). He shot 0-for-6 from the field, 0-for-4 from 3 in 13:31 of floor time.— Chris Mueller (@bychrismueller) February 22, 2020
Asked Jeff Capel about the root of Murphy's struggles. His answer was simple: pic.twitter.com/ofOIQrBzZa
”I think he missed a lot of time,” Capel said. “With the way our schedule’s been, we haven’t had a lot of practice time. So I think it’s rust.”
The former New Mexico Junior College standout had been one of Pitt’s top offensive producers before the start of his scoring drought, and he had been relied on heavily for his three-point shooting. His contributions have been particularly vital this season, as the Panthers have shot 29.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team, ranking 335th in the nation.
Murphy’s struggles began against Duke on Jan. 28, when he scored zero points in 14 minutes. After that matchup, he suffered a concussion in practice that kept him out of three games. And since then, he hasn’t quite looked like himself on the court. But amid his struggles, Murphy has continued to put in time on the practice court and work on his shooting.
When Murphy’s work will translate to in-game results remains to be seen, but with just three games remaining in the regular season, time is running out for him to turn things around on the court this season.