IOWA CITY, Iowa - One was a consensus all-American center. The other was a forward with a soft shooting touch and a nose for the ball.
Before the ball was tipped Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Chuck Darling and Bruce “Sky” King were the only two players in Iowa basketball history to score at least 30 points and grab at least 20 rebounds in the same game.
But the table for two now needs a third chair. Have a seat, Kris Murray.
The junior forward scored 31 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, both career highs, in an 81-65 victory over Georgia Tech at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was a sign that Murray’s evolution as a basketball player is headed in the direction his coach, Fran McCaffery, predicted it would.
“He’s way more comfortable, whether it's making plays off the dribble, posting up, playing in transition, playing against zone, playing against smaller, quicker guys or bigger, more physical guys,” McCaffery said. “He’s been through it now. Last year was a really good year for him. He’s in a great place.”
According to OptaSTATS, Murray is the only NBA, WNBA or Division I men’s or women’s player in the last 20 years to have 30-plus points, 20 or more rebounds, four or more made three-pointers, four or more assists and two or more blocks in a game in the last 20 years.
And ESPN reported that Murray became the first major conference player with 30 points, 20 rebounds and four 3-pointers since Kevin Durant of Texas in 2007.
Murray was 11 of 18 from the field, including four 3-pointers in eight attempts. He was also five of eight from the line, with four assists and two blocked shots. Eight of his 20 rebounds were on the offensive glass. Kris is averaging 21 points and 10.6 rebounds through seven games.
Darling, the program’s second consensus all-American in 1952, has Iowa’s most impressive single-game outing. The 6-foot-9 postman scored 34 points and had 30 rebounds in the in the final game of his career, a 78-75 upset loss to Wisconsin that knocked the seventh-ranked Hawkeyes out of Big Ten title contention.
“What a big disappointment that was,” Darling told Buck Turnbull in his book, “Hoop Tales, Iowa Hawkeyes Men’s Basketball.’ “To make matters worse, Wisconsin also beat Illinois in the last game that season. So if we had won, we’d have tied Illinois for first and gotten into a playoff. Instead, Illinois won the title and went to the NCAA Tournament, and we had to settle for second place.”
Darling averaged 25.5 points that season for a team that finished 19-3, and was named the Big Ten’s most valuable player. Darling set a record for most points scored in a Big Ten season with 364. The previous mark had been 277. He also became Iowa’s career scoring leader (1,094 points) and set school records for most points, field goals and free throws in a season.
Only once has a player recorded more rebounds in a Big Ten game than Darling did against the Badgers that night. Walt Bellamy of Indiana had 33 against Michigan in 1961.
King, a 6-8 forward from Dayton, Ohio, accomplished the 30-20 double-double twice as a senior in 1976-77. He had 42 points and 20 rebounds in a 102-80 victory over Pittsburgh in the consolation game of the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., on Dec. 30, 1976.
“I just felt good tonight,” King told reporters after the game. “They fouled me a lot and gave me a lot of chances at the free-throw line. Luckily, I was hot.”
King made 18 free throws in 23 attempts. He was also 12 of 22 from the field and scored 23 points in the first half.
King did it a second time on January, 27, 1977, in a 84-66 victory over Ohio State in Iowa Fieldhouse. He scored 31 points and added 21 rebounds.
“Maybe it feels good to beat Ohio State more than some other teams, but I didn’t want to go to school there anyway,” King said.
Wearing goggles to protect an injured eye, King scored 16 of Iowa’s first 20 points of the game, and 23 by halftime.
“If King isn’t an all-conference player, I don’t know who is,” Iowa Coach Lute Olson said.
King made the second all-league team (coaches and media) after averaging 21 points and 13.3 rebounds for the season.
Reaching the 20-rebound milestone has now been accomplished 25 times. The last to do it, beforeKris Murray, was his twin brother Keegan. He had 21 rebounds against North Carolina Central last season.
Kevin Kunnert did it a school-record eight times during his career (1971-73), including 23-rebound efforts against Drake and Illinois in 1972. Kunnert averaged 12.7 rebounds for his career. In his final season the 7-foot center averaged 19.2 points and 13.9 rebounds. Kunnert’s 48 double-doubles are a career best at Iowa.
Darling also had 25 rebounds to go with 18 points in a victory against Purdue in January of 1951, the second highest single-game total in program history.
Matching that 25-rebound game was Frank Allen against California on December 28, 1960. It remains the longest contest in program history. Iowa won the game, part of the Los Angeles Basketball Classic, in four overtimes, 83-80. This game marked the only time two Iowa players had at least 20 rebounds in the same game. Tom Harris had 23 rebounds. So he and Allen accounted for 48 of Iowa’s 76 rebounds in the game.
King had three 20-plus rebounding games in his career. John Johnson did it twice. Greg Brunner, Iowa’s career rebounding leader, had 23 in a triple-overtime victory against Minnesota in 2006. That remains a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record. Bill Logan (1955) and Nolden Gentry (1958) also had 23-rebound games.
Coming closest to joining the 30-20 club was Fred Haberecht, a member of Lute Olson’s first recruiting class at Iowa. Haberecht had 29 points and 20 rebounds in an 86-85 overtime loss at Wisconsin in 1975.