It wasn’t the prettiest game of all time but the Gophers outlasted Harvard in a grinder, beating the Crimson 65-55 in the final non-conference game of the year.
Nate Mason missed the game due to injury, though it may have been more of a precaution given that Harvard was very beatable. Isaiah Washington filled in admirably as the starter, scoring nine points and nabbing an unusual 13 rebounds for a near double-double in 34 minutes.
Jordan Murphy notched his 15th straight double double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, even sitting on the bench with foul trouble for a bit. He wasn’t crazy effective from the field, only 3-12, but got the job done from the free throw line.
Harvard gave up on trying to beat Minnesota in the paint and relied almost exclusively on the three-point shot, chucking a ridiculous 32 attempts. Harvard is not a good team from deep and hit only seven attempts. A strange approach indeed.
Dupree McBrayer may have been the unsung hero of the game, leading all scorers with 15 points and hitting some timely threes to quell a couple Crimson spurts. He stuffed the stat sheet with four rebounds and three assists.
Harvard’s leading scorer Bryce Aiken was absent from this game with a leg injury, which hampered the Crimson offense. Still, they hung with the Gophers the entire game and slowed things down with different zone defense looks, trimming the lead to three points late in the game. Minnesota struggled from the field, shooting only 33 percent from the field. Second chance points and offensive rebounds were the major differentiators for the Gophers.
The Gophers start real conference play on Wednesday when they host Illinois.
Here. We. Go.