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Gopher Basketball Defeats UM-Duluth in Exhibition Opener

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Jonathan Daniel

Believe it or not Gopher Basketball is nearly upon us.  In fact they will open the 2014-15 season one week from tonight.  Perhaps you have heard that we are facing Louisville who I guess is coached by our coach's father.  But we will get to that game next week.  Last night the Gophers played their one and only exhibition game as they now prepare for an actual game that matters.

THE RESULT: The Gophers stymied Minnesota-Duluth, holding them to 37.4% shooting from the floor as they cruised to a 68-95 exhibition win.  The Gophers were led by JUCO transfer, Carlos Morris who scored 23 points on 10/17 shooting.  Overall it was a solid defensive effort against the Division II opponent and offensively Minnesota five guys scoring in double-figures.

QUOTABLE: "I'm trying to throw different things at them," Coach Richard Pitino said. "Because once the season starts, you don't know what's coming."  This was in response to being asked why freshmen Josh Martin and Bakary Konate were a part of the starting lineup rather than the expected Joey King and Elliott Eliason.

THE STAT: 8 assists for Deandre Matthieu while scoring a dozen points.  Still hitting double-digits while looking to get his teammates involved.

TURNING POINT: Trailing 7-6, enter Daquein McNeil who immediately scored off an offensive rebound and spurred the Gophers to 20-2 run where Day Day scored 7 of his 15 points.

HOT: Gopher small forwards.  The debate may rage over the next week over who should be starting between McNeil and Morris.  Both have reportedly been playing well in practice and both had nice games last night.  Combined they shot 67% and had 38 points and 5 assists.  

NOTABLE: Maurice Walker did not play due to a hamstring injury and Nate Mason did not participate because of a knee injury.

UP NEXT: A trip to Puerto Rico to face # Louisville.

I don't see a ton to get overly excited about from this particular exhibition game, but the season is upon us and this team is going to be exciting!

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