With Murdock Showing Poise in Crunch Time, Majeski Defeats LoyalTees in Summer Hoops
UNDER PRESSURE: Eric Murdock, Jr., dribbles the ball into the paint for Majeski Foundation in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League action last week. Last Monday, Murdock helped Majeski, which is comprised of current players on the The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, edge LoyalTees 58-53. Murdock scored 19 points for Majeski as it improved to 2-0. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Eric Murdock, Jr., happily dribbled out the last 15 seconds of regulation as Majeski Foundation closed out a 58-53 win over LoyalTees last Monday in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.
When Murdock drained a three-pointer just before the buzzer at the end of the first half, it looked like Majeski, which is comprised of current players on The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, was on its way to an easy win as it lead 34-19 at intermission.
But a gritty LoyalTees squad, led by former Princeton High standout Davon Black, got the crowd at the Community Park courts riled up as it started the second half with a 28-14 run to draw within 48-47 and turn the game into a nail-biter.
With point guard Murdock running the offense and hitting some key free throws down the stretch, Majeski, the defending summer league champion, was able to hold off LoyalTees.
“Composure made the difference, they definitely sped us up in the second half by guarding the ball full court,” said Murdock, reflecting on the victory which improved Majeski to 2-0.
“We just had guards out there who could handle the pressure and slow it down; realizing that we were speeded up and playing out of our tempo. We just calmed it down and were able to make the right decisions, the right plays, and that led to the end result.”
Murdock displayed his poise down the stretch, repeatedly dribbling through LoyalTees pressure.
“No matter what group we have, I am always a pass first kind of guard, trying to get everyone open and trying to get everyone in rhythm,” said Murdock.
“If they need me to handle the ball and make the right passes, that is what I will do and I will set us up and I do whatever it takes to win.”
Murdock’s clutch shooting from the line and the perimeter were also key factors in the win for Majeski.
“For this team to be successful, I think we have to be aggressive,” said Murdock, who scored a team-high 19 points, including six free throws in the second half.
“We lost a lot of our scoring to seniors last year. I think being aggressive and getting to the charity stripe will be a big help for us in the future.”
In Murdock’s view, the future is bright for TCNJ as there is talent on hand to fill shoes of the departed seniors.
“I think we have got guys that have been ready, have been in the program a lot, and that have been tested,” asserted Murdock, a 6’1, 175-pound native of Bridgewater who averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 assists a game last winter for TCNJ as the Lions posted an 18-7 record.
“We work each other hard when we have practice. We have guys that are battle-tested already. They may not have the stats right now but they are ready to start.”
For Murdock and his teammates, playing in the summer league on an annual basis is a good way to toughen up for the winter.
“We have been in this league for countless years,” said Murdock. “We get great competition against guys that know how to play basketball and that won’t give us any easy wins. We love the competitiveness. The older guys have the IQ and sometimes that surpasses our team.”
As the defending league champion, Majeski is going to have compete even harder this summer to defend its title.
“We are definitely one of those groups that has got the target on their back,” said Murdock.
“That is the best way to play, we take everyone’s best shot and that is the only way we are going to get better. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Whether we get a win or a loss, we have got to come together as a group and figure it out every game.”