Minnesota defeated Wisconsin 59-52 in Madison. The Gophers are now 2-1 in conference play and 12-2 on the season. Amir Coffey led all scorers with 21 points.
The first half was about as good of a half as Minnesota has played all season. In large part that was due to Amir Coffey, who went on a 15-3 run by himself in the first half. He outscored the entire Wisconsin team 15-14 in the first half. Coffey looked like his NBA potential, making threes, dishing assists, and scoring runners. When Coffey is engaged on offense, the Gophers are difficult to beat because Coffey can take over games like no other player on the team.
In the second half, Minnesota became far more static on offense. Wisconsin became much tighter on the defensive end and the Gophers let the Badgers dictate the game early in the second half. On defense, Wisconsin was able to exploit Eric Curry to get good looks inside. As Wisconsin made a run to cut the game to single digits, the Gophers needed a player to step up.
Enter Brock Stull.
Stull hit two big threes to return the game to a double digit lead. Wisconsin never got closer than two possessions. At the end of the game, the Gophers implemented Hack-a-Happ to great effect.
Jordan Murphy only had 5 points, but added 11 rebounds. He fouled out in the second half on some weak calls, but in the future Murphy will not have to deal with referees in Madison.
Dupree McBrayer hit a three, and then made two huge defensive plays in the last three minutes, picking Davison’s pocket for a score and then corralling a loose ball for another dunk. McBrayer seems to be becoming more engaged, which is both understandable and very welcome.
Minnesota was 6-14 from the three point line. Hopefully this portends for better shooting in the future.