Minnesota defeated Clemson 89-83 at Williams Arena. With the win, the Gophers are now 5-2 on the season. A surprising fact, Minnesota has the second longest home non-conference winning streak in the country. Jordan Murphy led the Gophers with 24 points in a breakout performance.
Early on, Clemson barely missed. The Tigers started the game 4-6 from deep, and finished the night 14-28. Several of those threes were from more than 25 feet away, but far too many were of the wide open variety. Clemson did a good job taking advantage of Minnesota's odd decision to double the post. I remain confused as to what Pitino believes is the advantage of this strategy.
Fortunately, this game turned into a track meet, and the Gophers were well prepared for the challenge. Minnesota was surprisingly efficient on offense and put up an eFG% of 59%. The Gophers still are not fully comfortable with Pitino's offense. For a motion offense, there is far too much time where the ball is not moving. The team remains a bit too enamored with difficult three point shots. Nonetheless, I was very impressed with Minnesota's resilience on offense.
Below is an image of Jordan Murphy against Clemson.
Murphy had 24 points and 10 rebounds, 8 of which were offensive rebounds. He added two steals and two blocks. For much of the game, he was nigh impossible to keep off the offensive glass. Murphy's athleticism is already on full display, but he also showed off a jump shot and excellent footwork.
Joey King continued his transformation into the best Old Man at the YMCA player with another double digit outing. King had 17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block and an assist. Clemson's gameplan was to take away King, and for the most part the Tigers kept him away from his favorite areas on the court. Even so, King was still able to get the ball in isolation situations, and showed off a nice spin move into a hook shot.
Charles Buggs had 15 points that included a powerful slam dunk to end the game. He also airballed a three point attempt. What Buggs giveth, Buggs taketh away.
For the first time this season, Minnesota won the rebounding battle. Cherish that statistic because we're unlikely to see it in conference play.