Former MCC player leads Seattle to win
By By Richard Dark/EMG staff writer
March 20, 2004
NEW ORLEANS A lot has changed for former Meridian Community College standout Ronald "Flip" Murray since he last visited the New Orleans Arena.
Most notably, the second-year pro has changed teams and has come into his own. Murray was considered just a throw in to the deal that sent Ray Allen to the Seattle Supersonics for All-Star guard Gary Payton.
But when Allen went down with an injury to begin this season Murray stepped up and made a name for himself in the eyes of Seattle coach Nate McMillan as well as the rest of the league.
And Friday night his emphatic dunk with a minute to play put the exclamation point on a Sonics' 91-80 victory over the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets three-game home winning streak was snapped, while Seattle won its fourth straight.
"I was fortunate enough to come into a situation at the start of the year where I could come in and play right away and show what I was capable of," said Murray, who averaged 20 points in his final season playing at the Ivy Sports Complex. "I took advantage of it I guess. But I never would have imagined when I was at MCC that I would have gotten to this point. I'm always talking about my time there to the other guys (on the team.) I loved it there."
Murray currently is the Sonics third-leading scorer averaging 12.8 points per game, having played in all 69 games this year. He is also averaging over two rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes. Against the Hornets, he put in 11 points four assists and three rebounds. "Whether people want to feel me or not, I can't worry about that. I just have to continue to go out and play my type of basketball," Murray said. "We had a solid performance tonight."
Murray also credits being able to play with Allen during his entire tenure as a catalyst in his development. Allen threw in 19 points, and Rashard Lewis led all scorers with 31.
Former Ole Miss star Ansu Sesay is averaging three points per game on nine minutes. He has missed 16 games, including Friday night, where he did not see action, but had plenty to say about Murray. "He's one of those players that simply can't be guarded one on one. He'll always get by one man and that helps because it spreads out the floor.
That was obvious in the latter stages of the fourth quarter after New Orleans raced out on a 13-1 run retake the lead at 75-74. But Seattle (31-38) responded with a 17-5 burst that settled the issue. Baron Davis led the hosts with 25.
New Orleans (36-33) shot just 39 percent; missing 23 of 29 3-pointers, while allowing the worst rebounding team in the league to outboard them 44-34.
"We didn't get it inside as much as we could have," said P.J. Brown. "We were a little jump shot happy and it played right into their hands. Inconsistency is the word."
New Orleans has not put together a winning streak of two or more in three weeks.
Their current home stand continues with a Sunday game against Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors at 6 p.m. The first 8,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Hornets basketball.