Minnesota defeated Oral Roberts 77-63 yesterday at Williams Arena. With the win, the Gophers move to 10-3 on the season. Jordan Murphy led all Minnesota scorers with 17 points.
To get this out of the way early, Oral Roberts is a bad basketball team that will win few games this year and yesterday’s game was a four point margin at halftime. Dupree McBrayer did not play yesterday because of a leg injury that is treated as day to day. As a result, the Gophers shuffled their starting lineup to insert Michael Hurt at the 3 and moved Amir Coffey to the 2.
Minnesota had another miserable night shooting, particularly in the first half. For the game, the Gophers shot a miserable effective field goal percentage of 42%. If Nate Mason had not made several threes late, that number might not have cracked 40%. Fortunately, Minnesota played lockdown defense for the second half until garbage time to win this in a laugher.
Jordan Murphy had another double double, his thirteenth of the season. In addition to the aforementioned 17 points, he finished with 10 rebounds, a block, an assist, and a steal. Murphy was reasonably active when he had to be in the second half.
Amir Coffey continued to be a terror in transition, consistently getting to the foul line all night. He had 15 points in part due to 9-10 free throw shooting, and threw down a great two handed slam in the second half. According to Pitino, Coffey’s move to the 2 did not affect the offense or his touches, but I’m not sure if I buy that. Coffey had the ball in his hands more often yesterday than in previous games. This is a positive trend that I hope continues.
Michael Hurt started for the first time in his career and actually scored points! 10 points in fact, along with three rebounds, an assist, and a steal. The sophomore hit a three pointer, and also put a guy on a poster.
The bench scored points! 16 of them in fact. 12 of those came from Isaiah Washington, who also finally hit a three pointer, and the other 4 came from Davonte Fitzgerald. Since bench scoring is such a precious commodity, we should celebrate whenever it arrives.
Minnesota was 82% from the line. That kind of number will be essential when the actual Big Ten Season comes around.