Well that was interesting! On the road for the first time, the Minnesota Gophers beat Providence 86-74 in a game that was both frustrating and fun at the same time. The Gophers started extremely well, but they finished the first half and started the second half playing extremely rough basketball. In all honestly, it felt like you could roughly divide the game into 3 parts:
- First 10 minutes = Good!
- Next 20 minutes = Bad!
- Last 10 minutes = REALLY GOOD!
In a way, it was a game that did a nice job highlightinh some of what the Gophers need to do and need to avoid in order to win games this season. So let’s break it down like that:
Do this and we’ll be happy
- Create ball movement and give Jordan Murphy space to create. Murphy was a FORCE tonight, especially in the 2nd half.
- Amir Coffey stroking the 3 ball. Amir started out struggling, shooting 1-6 (0-3 3pt) in the first half. Not surprisingly the Gophers struggled then too. Once he started hitting all sorts of good things started to happen.
- Points in the paint. Led by Murphy, Minnesota dominated down the stretch in the paint and the Gophers will win a lot of games if this is happening.
Do this and we’ll struggle
- Bad transition defense. The Gophers struggled finding their man on the fast break, sometimes in laughably bad fashion. This lead to open threes and open dunks/layups in a way that just shouldn’t happen during the 20 minutes they sturggled. They would have probably lost if this continued.
- Reggie Lynch foul trouble. /plays broken record
- Three point defense. We got better, but the Gophers need to not give up the kind of looks they did.
Other things worth noting
- Seriously though, Murphy was a beast! A BEAST. BEEEEEAAAAAAAAAST!
- Michael Hurt played good minutes. Forced into significant action due to foul trouble on the other bigs, Hurt played solid D and helped create good ball movement on offense.
- Konate fouling dudes, especially on the offensive glass. Someone PLEASE tell him he can’t climb up the back of the guys who are boxing him out. He got THREE fouls on the offensive glass. He picked up 4 fouls in just FIVE minutes of play.
- 12 straight possessions with points. That’s right, the Gophers had a run in the 2nd half where they came away with points on 12 straight possessions. That’s ok.