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Minnesota Basketball Defeats Western Carolina: Final Score 92-64

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Gophers win first of four games this week.

The Gophers defeated the Western Carolina Catamouts at Williams Arena today 92-64. Five players scored in double figures including Jordan Murphy (23), Amir Coffey (15), Dupree McBrayer (14), Nate Mason (13) and Isaiah Washington (10). Murphy led all scorers in the game and add 11 boards for his fourth double-double in as many games.

The Catamounts hung around for a long stretch in the first half, taking a page from the Niagara playbook and jacking three after three, while seemingly unable to miss. Catamount freshman Matt Halvorsen finished the game with 17 points while going 5-7 from deep. For the game Western Carolina was 11-22 from deep, though it wasn’t nearly enough to match up with the Gophers high-powered offense.

The Catamounts had no answer for the Gophers inside and had trouble scoring from inside the three-point line. Minnesota shot an impressive 50 percent from the field for the game, and got to the line 38 times, hitting 27 of their attempts. The Gophers forced 20 turnovers and only turned it over 12 times themselves, scoring 32 points off turnovers.

Reggie Lynch quickly went to his old ways of fouling, as he racked up his fourth personal with just over 15 minutes left in the second half. Mason was in the same boat, which forced Richard Pitino deep into his bench early on. Isaiah Washington and Davonte Fitzgerald saw nearly 20 minutes each and stemmed the tide, but in the end Lynch only saw 16 minutes. It was his first four-foul game of the season, so we’ll see if it becomes a trend.

Once again the Gophers kicked it into overdrive early in the second half to put the game out of reach fairly early on, going on a 15-3 to take a commanding 17-point lead.

The game was first of a four-game stretch that will take place over the next seven days. Minnesota faces Alabama A&M on Tuesday before heading to New York for the Barclays Center Classic where they’ll face UMass and Alabama on Friday and Saturday.