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Minnesota Defeats Nebraska 85-78

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NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota beat Nebraska 85-78 at Williams Arena. With the win, the Gophers improve to 1-1 in conference play and 7-2 on the season. Amir Coffey led all scorers with a career high 32 points.

Minnesota came into this game fresh off a horrible loss against Ohio State, where nothing went right on offense. The Gophers were down 12 points at the under 15 mark of the second half. There was good reason to think that dropping to 0-2 to start the Big Ten would have led to lots of questions about the long-term (or short-term) prospects for Richard Pitino. Would those questions have been fair? Who cares, the team is 1-1 now.

The team did three things to get back into the game. First, they played with toughness on the defensive end of the floor. Minnesota’s man defense has been poor over the last four games, and much of that is effort. Tonight, the team was able to play physical without fouling and forced Nebraska into bad shots during important possessions. Second, Minnesota’s coaches did a good job of putting players in position to succeed. Minnesota ran lots of actions to get their star players in position to succeed.

Third, Amir Coffey woke the hell up. Tonight a light flipped on and Coffey looked like the NBA prospect he could be for a first time awhile. It wasn’t just the 32 points, though that helped. Coffey also had six assists to only two turnovers, and six rebounds. He was also 14-17 from the free throw line. The transition to PG has been difficult for Coffey, but tonight was a reminder that when the best talent on your team plays like the best talent good things happen.

Notes

We at the Daily Gopher would like to send our deepest condolences to Dupree McBrayer and his entire family. Losing a parent at any age, let alone a young age is devastating.

McBrayer had five points tonight, including a key three pointer later to keep the game in striking distance as the Gophers were making a comeback. He also had four assists and two steals.

Jordan Murphy became the all time leader in double-doubles in program history. Murphy had 18 points and 13 rebounds. The fact that is a boring sentence to type is why he is an obvious First Team All Big Ten player. A more fun sentence to type is Murphy was 8-10 from the line.

Gabe Kalscheur had 12 points tonight despite not making a three. Kalscheur had multiple drives to basket for layups as well as a nice mid range jump shot off a space making move. It will be essential for his development that he finds ways to score other than catch and shoot situations.

Daniel Oturu needs a second move under the basket. When he finds a counter move, Oturu will beast on the inside.