Gopher Game Blog: Minnesota defeated Mount St. Mary's 80-56

The Gophers improved to 3-0 on the season with an 80-56 win over Mount St. Mary's. Five Gophers were in double figures this evening led by 18 points and 12 rebounds from Jordan Murphy

The Game Thread is up now as Minnesota and Mount St. Mary's are on the court warming up.  Follow the link below for tonight's game thread that will run constant updates and conversation through the final buzzer.

http://www.scout.com/college/minnesota/forums/3581-the-gopher-report

Pregame

The Gophers are 2-0 coming off a really nice win over UT-Arlington where they came back from down six at the half to going up nearly 20 points at one point in the second half.  Everything changed when their defense changed.  The Mountaineers are 0-2 on the season with losses to top 25 ranked West Virginia and Iowa State...Minnesota has started Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Reggie Lynch both games so far with Eric Curry as the 6th man, and Akeem Springs as the 7th man.  The 8th man, who isn't playing much, was Michael Hurt on night one, and Ahmad Gilbert on game two...Mount St. Mary's is starting their all league caliber PG Junior Robinson, who is 5-foot-5, Elijah Long who has been really good this year, East Carolina transfer Greg Alexander, Chris Wray who goes to the bench often and they play smaller, and center Mawdo Sallah...Gophers and The Mount are both using the expected starting line-ups...

First Half

Minnesota used Dupree McBrayer in the post right away isolating him on a guy five inches taller.  MSM subbed Wray out after 90 seconds and replaced him with a smaller guy so Richard Pitino instructs his team to go right to Jordan Murphy on the 6-foot-6 replacement and they Murphy earned foul shots…The Gophs have a real size edge and Pitino went after it quick…Elijah Long is doing the ball handling, not Junior Robinson.  Not sure if that’s strategy or if Robinson is a 5-foot-5 shooting guard…MSM tried to pressure full court on makes just like Arlington did…Minnesota is in straight man as is The Mount…Amir Coffey’s one dribble pull-up is really clean and we just got a look at it as he makes one after his defender sold out on a fake…Long has been played so well for MSM and right away he attacked to score off a ball screen.  Gopher help was late and then Lynch tried to contest but Long went over the top of him…Whomever has been defending Amir is pretty much not getting to their assignment.  Three times Amir has found space quick in transition (twice for scores, once for a creation that was missed)…Minnesota just turned a defensive rebound into a Nate Mason attack into a hesitation score…Jordan Murphy gets his second score with a drop step flush.  That’s big, they need a good game from him…Minnesota has switched to a zone defense the last two possessions I believe…MN 13 MSM 6...

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/799059281941327872

Mountaineers still trying to press the Gophers but they don’t have anywhere near the activity or the athletes that Arlington had with it…Akeem Springs comes right in and attacks in transition to score…Bakary Konate in early.  Good plan.  Like to see him get a few more meaningful minutes as they will need him this year at times…Michael Hurt also on the floor early and this is after Ahmad Gilbert took his minutes last Monday.  First Hurt jumper misses.  Like that he didn’t hesitate.  Michael did come down and foul as he couldn’t step over to cut off the attack…Dupree on the court handling with four subs…Akeem playing hard on defense…Springs comes down and quickly jacks a contested three.  Bad shot.  Don’t like it.  Too quick and it was contested.  I don’t get it…MN 15 MtStM 9….

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/799062302620323841

Bakary with an illegal screen.  He does that too much.  Pitino didn’t seem to like the call, not sure if it was or not, but I know Bakary is called for it often…Both teams are in a major lull offensively.  We have hit a scoring dry spell with the subs on the floor for both…Hurt and Springs have done a great job chasing the Mountaineer wings around screens.  It’s forced The Mount to take a couple bad shots…Minnesota just went with a full court zone press and MSM ball movement found the open space at the top of the key between the high zone defenders for an open three point make.  Zone looks slow but they are working on it and this is a good time for it…Pitino back to man though…Long has now taken Gopher guards off the bounce to the rim a couple times for scores.  Dupree has been beat twice...Gophers back to their starting group…Refs are calling screens very tightly this evening both ways…Pitino called a set and the first action was a curl cut that worked for a catch but not for a shot.  Dupree pulls it out and it’s bothersome that Pitino had to yell at him to reverse the ball.  That should come on hoops instinct…Bad backside rotation, Mount dunk, Pitino timeout…MN 17 MtSM 16…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/799062646112841728

Minnesota has missed five of 11 foul shots, most from the bigs but the misses are noteworthy in this game…McBrayer has hit long jumpers twice after the timeout.  One was a call from Pitino out of the timeout, nice call from the coach as Dupree caught and hit wide open after a reversal…Murphy doesn’t get out to Miller and the three point weapon hits a three for Mount…Greg Alexander now hits over Murphy.  He has three treys already…Nate Mason attacks and scores, that’s good.  Good shot.  Next time down he shoots a long, contested, no pass three.  Bad shot.  And the second one missed…Robinson beats defender number one and all of the help didn’t move to count off the attack so he scores.  More bad defense…MN 27 MtStM 24…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/799064664944558081

Nobody picks up Amir Coffey in transition again, Amir gets to the rim, misses but Eric Curry with the putback for his first score…Once Mount gets past the first defender the Gopher defense is standing flat.  No rotations, no help, not activity…Long beats Coffey to the middle, Long kicks to the corner, a three is hit and there was again no backside defense there to do anything at all…Curry with an excellent face-up into a one dribble feed to a cutting Murphy.  Tough to stop that when Eric draws the D in and Jordan is so physical behind the play.  Murphy scores on the next play too.  This is big for Murphy who they need to get going.  Gophs limiting Long and Robinson from good shots (they are 4 of 15) but they have nine turnovers, 12-19ft, and they aren't playing that active of defense off ball. This should be an 18 point game...MN 37 MtStM 29 at the half…

https://twitter.com/GopherMBB/status/799067405913833472

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/799067590203162633

Second Half

Reggie Lynch is in position to cut off the attack 9 times out of 10.  Not just for shot blocking, but for shot contesting, being a shot contesting/blocking threat, and he is there to usually cut off drives…First possession Pitino goes to Reggie who turns it over trying to kick out.  Gophs go back to him again on possession two and it works for a post to post feed to Murphy.  Jordan is so tough off the ball cutting to the rim…Gophs go back to Lynch again, third straight time, and it’s a hook shot miss.  One for three is less than what you want but Reggie has made defensive plays on two of the three possessions so it’s wash…Now Reggie with a steal that becomes a Mason assist to Dupree…Reggie made those great defensive plays but also had a mistake that made Pitino mad so he was pulled. I was typing on the possession that Pitino got mad at him for…Nate Mason pull-up is his signature score.  Haven’t seen it much but we did for his third score.  He’s still struggling to shoot consistently overall though, 3-7 tonight so far…MN 47 The Mount 37…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/799072260866867200

Reggie Lynch gets his first foul after 25 minutes!  Progress…Another Nate Mason transition pull-up jumper.  If he mixes more of these in his percentages will go up.  That and if he stops shooting the no-pass threes against a fully retreated D…Akeem Springs with another quick three and another miss off one of those quick shots.  It was one pass in to the possession and it was hotly contested.  Bad shot…The officials have already whistled Minnesota eight times.  Four the first half. Consistency? Nope.  Players aren’t sure what is contact, what isn’t…Lynch finds Jordan Murphy on backside for a cutting score and then Jordan scores again running the floor.  He has to be one of the best off ball scorers you will see this year…MN 53 MtSTM 42…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/799073957651562504

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/799076674046488576

Out of the timeout the Gophers move the ball and find Springs for an open three within the offensive flow.  That’s how he will get shots and he will get plenty of them if he shoots like that.  He can be so valuable for this team on both ends when he’s taking the right shots.  Gophers don’t need another upperclassmen chucking early possession attempts, we’ve seen that before (and those players didn’t make it through their senior seasons)…Springs with a quick attempt that is contested and this one goes.  My instinct says bad shot but, he did just make one moments before so not as bad.  Plus it went, so good shot…Michael Hurt comes in, sees a two on one and nobody stepped to him with the ball, he dribbles once to draw in the defense, goes to Murphy who scored again.  Nice play by Hurt, another off-ball score from Murphy…Bakary coming in.  Interesting that Ahmad Gilbert hasn’t played and he was 8th man last game…Dupree coast to coast. Mountaineers are horrible at stopping the ball in transition…MN 65 MtStM 43…

https://twitter.com/GopherHole/status/799077406124417024

Akeem Springs scores on an attack off a reversal.  Love that attack, love the ball movement.   Need those scores from him regularly and the way this team moves the ball I think they will get them…Now Springs with a feed to a streaking Coffey for a score!  Another nice play from Springs…Coffey feeds Bakary for a dunk and…hanging on the rim technical? Come on weak dude ref!  That was nothing compared to a real hanging on the rim that C-Webb, Corey Maggette, or Shaq would get! Pathetic call….Nate Mason hits a couple more jumpers and is finding his stroke.  He’s made 6 of 11 attempts tonight…Gilbert on now…MN 76 MtStM 51…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/799079220806828035

https://twitter.com/GopherHole/status/799080719553351680

https://twitter.com/talkgophbuckets/status/799081141441597440

The subs are on the floor for the end of this game.  Pitino called a set for a Gaston shot and he rolled off a screen to catch and hit…Stephon Sharp played most of the late game PG minutes and did a solid job…Hurt tried extra hard to feed Gaston on a post-up but Gaston couldn’t hold off his man for a catch.  Michael is so unselfish, almost too unselfish as I wish he would of shot that after the pass wasn’t there…Gilbert had a couple boards…MN 80 The Mount 56…

https://twitter.com/GopherMBB/status/799082749298622468


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