Ja Morant made a statement in his debut game, as Murray State blew past the Marquette Golden Eagles 83-64. It was the first “upset” as a 12 seed beat a 5 seed but I really didn’t view Murray State as an underdog. He is very athletic, agile, quick and elusive when going to the rim and is a knock-down shooter. The explosive, selfless guard who had a triple double with17 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds in the win. It was Morant’s third triple double this season and only the ninth in NCAA tournament history—the first since Draymond Green in 2012 at Michigan State. Even though Murray State may not have the best strength of schedule leaving room for doubt, Morant played lights out. On the very first play of the game, he took on two defenders and threw an alley-oop to KJ Williams setting the tone. He finished off the first half with a step-back three to give the Racers a 42–35 edge at the buzzer. Later on in the second half, he threw down a raw, brutal, two-handed dunk over Marquette’s 6’9″, 290-pound forward Joey Hauser. Definitely was the play of the day. “That’s just everyday Ja,” says sophomore forward Devin Gilmore. “For real.”
After the game, he was asked how he would want someone who had seen him play for the first time, Morant confidently went, “Honestly, if they don’t know me by now, I don’t know what to say.” Then he said, “But I hope they see not just me, but that Murray State is a great team and we can run with the big dogs.” Clearly, Morant is ready to play at the next level and his draft-stock is sky rocking with the incredible production he has had this season.
Freshman guard Tevin Brown looked phenomenal, leading the team with 19 points and went 5-of-9 from deep. Senior guard Shaq Buchanan dominated defensively, and Darnell Cowart helped spread the floor with his ability to score inside. When asked about his great performance, he humbly responded, “It feels good, but I give all the credit to my teammates because withoutthem, I wouldn’t have a triple double.” This level of maturity for a college player is off the charts and scouts must be going crazy about him. Children are idolizing him, teammates are joking around saying they should rename the University, “Ja Morant University”, he is being compared to Zion Williamson! This guy is the REAL DEAL.