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Minnesota defeated St. Johns 92-86 led by 30 points from Amir Coffey

Freshman Amir Coffey scored 30 points, Reggie Lynch blocked nine shots, Dupree McBrayer scored 18, and Nate Mason hit the late clutch shots as Minnesota moved to 4-0 with a 92-86 win over St. John's.

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Pregame

The Gavitt Tip-Off Games between the Big Ten and Big East have resulted in the Big Ten falling behind 4-3.  Tonight is the last game of the challenge.  Big Ten needs Minnesota to win.  The Gophers are 3-0 and have five guys putting up double figure numbers.  St. John's is 2-0 and are being led in scoring by freshmen Shamorie Ponds and Marcus Lovett.  Both teams had really tough 15-16 seasons but have talented youth and should be much better.  St. John's top eight only includes one upperclassmen, the Gopher top eight has just three...Minnesota has been starting Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Reggie Lynch with Eric Curry as 6th man, Akeem Springs 7th man, and Michael Hurt or Ahmad Gilbert being the 8th man...St. John's started Shamorie Ponds, Malik Ellison, Tariq Evans, Bashir Ahmed, and Yankuba Sima with leading scorer Marcus Lovett coming off the bench last game.  The first game Lovett started and Owens came off the bench...Ponds and Ellison are players that Minnesota recruited heavily.  Ponds said many times he would visit Minnesota but never did...Minnesota has a great group of recruits in tonight.  Five star 2018 Tre Jones, five star 2019 Matthew Hurt, and five star 2020 Jalen Suggs headline the group.  2018 multi D1 offered Jarvis Thomas, national top 100 recruit Tyrell Terry, 2019 up and comer Jamison Battle, and 2017 shooter Jack Hutchison will all be here this evening...

First Half

Minnesota’s first six possessions included four basket attacks and six shots at the rim.  St. John’s was beat to the rim but still contested shots and the Gophers had trouble scoring over that length.  Missed all six shots from three feet and in…St. John’s is setting a lot of ball screens and I love how the Gopher bigs are defending them but the guards must do a better job of fighting over.  Nate Mason has had a couple lazy battles over the top…Eric Curry always makes a box-out hit hard and seals, so does Reggie Lynch.  They’ve each cleared some boards…Very few ball reversals from Minnesota so far.  Need to get the ball moving…Amir Coffey relocated behind a screen and hit the first bucket, Nate Mason used his pull-up for a score, Reggie Lynch hit that spinning one hander out of the post…Jordan Murphy on the bench with two fouls inside of two minutes.  The second call was bad…Mn 7 StJ 11…

Bakary Konate in early because of the Murphy foul trouble so he will take his spot in the rotation for the half…Konate is the latest to miss from point blank range.  That’s eight missed right in front of the rim…Nate Mason doesn’t block out Shamorie Ponds so Ponds gets a putback.  Do not like Nate’s effort on the defensive end at all…Ahmad Gilbert in as 8th man.  It’s rotated between him and Michael Hurt and the decision usually depends on match-ups….Bashir Ahmed hit a second three and completely stared down Reggie with something to say after.  Ahmed has challenged Lynch hard and Mason is getting crushed by Ponds.  Shamorie just got loose and hit a three over him.  This team can shoot, they’ve shown that this year…MN 9 StJ 22…

Minnesota comes out moving the ball and when it went right, Akeem Springs hit a three.  When it went left, Gilbert hit a three.  The ball started moving and good shots were there.  Cut the 13 point led to 7 in two possessions…Akeem had a physical board too…Springs takes the “I made one last time so I am taking another one regardless of how bad of a shot it is” attempt again.  It missed, again…Gophers have had the ball near the rim several times (I would guess a dozen) for attempts but only two whistles.  Should be more like four or five really.  Lots of contact…Akeem takes another bad shot.  Curls and chucks up a terrible contested shot that missed badly.  Pitino goes to Mason as he should.  Can’t have those looks man, this team needs the ball moving for good shots…Minnesota has already played ten guys.  Michael Hurt runs the floor and gets a lay-up in transition…Coffey is really pushing the pace leading to his early seven points…MN 19 StJ 24…

Minnesota continues to get to the front of the rim in transition and early in the possessions.  Most shots that are attacks early in the possession are being contested but they are getting to the front of the rim.  The latest is Coffey getting there, being fouled, scoring two foul shots.  Dupree McBrayer also scored on an attack, his first field goal of the game…Amir Coffey grabs the d-board, goes coast to coast, back to the foul line…Coffey with a steal and an open floor dunk!  The building is going wild for Amir right now.  Chris Mullin needed to get a timeout…The Gophers are not getting enough guys making box-out hits.  Too much turning and trying to grab without making contact…Dupree with a defensive board, Coffey leaks out, Coffey dunks.  He has 15!...And Coffey takes a charge!..MN 31 StJ 28…

Reggie Lynch misses a block out.  I think all of them have missed one and its cost them…Dupree has been woke up by the excitement in here.  He’s scored three times including a three and then a Nate Mason feed that led to his attack…Reggie Lynch with two more blocks…Gilbert digs out a steal and then it’s off to Coffey again for a break out score.  He has 17…Mason finds Gilbert who hits his second three of the game!  Great pass from Nate Mason right there…Coffey led this team on a big run and the Gophs have a 41-31 lead.  Big minutes from Ahmad Gilbert late, McBrayer stepped it up and Mason played better too…MN 41 StJ 31..

Second Half

Nate Mason again, kicks out to an open shooter again, McBrayer catches and hits again.  Gophers have hit half of their dozen three point attempts…Jordan Murphy boards, outlets to Nate Mason, Mason back to Murphy who was not stopped so he gets the coast to coast dunk.  I can not stress how big the Nate Mason distribution has been…The Coffey transition game has resulted in St. John’s sprinting back but they aren’t stopping the ball.  They are sprinting and then locating way too late, maybe because they are scared of both Mason and Coffey coming at them.  Minnesota’s transition attack has them totally turned around defensively…Reggie gets his first foul after 23 minutes of time! Last game it took 25 minutes.  Progress is being made in this area it seems….Reggie gets foul two on what may have been the softest, weakest, latest call combo of the year.  Sorry whistle.  A Mullin influenced whistle…MN 49 StJ 36…

Dupree McBrayer’s confidence is sky high.  Missed a couple shots early but has made five of last six including two treys.  His makes have been big and he’s handling the back-up PG spot well too.  Dupree giving big minutes…Hurt and Gilbert both on as Pitino is using a nine man rotation tonight with Bakary playing when there have been foul issues.  Right now Gilbert is playing the four, Hurt the three…Michael Hurt uses a one dribble spin move to get the ball to Reggie who is fouled.  Great pass from Hurt.  Reggie hit both…Red Storm hit a couple threes and the momentum dies a bit.  Good time out from Pitino…MN 59 StJ 48…

LoVett hits a three, Springs misses a lay-up, LoVett hits a three and this is an eight point game all of a sudden…Springs now shoots an airball at the shot clock buzzer.  It was a good shot taken in terms of selection, but just missed everything…LoVett scores two more, six point game…Coffey is so long, guys try and contest but after contact he is still extended and in control so he can still make a play.  Big reason why he is at the line so much…Lovett attacks, draws Reggie, Coffey doesn’t rotate to stop the attempt, it’s a dunk and a five point game.  That Coffey length scores again though extending after contact…LoVett is killing the Gophers on the attack though.  He scores again.  But Coffey back in the post and he’s fouled, makes foul shots.  Coffey and LoVett going back and forth…Minnesota needs Nate Mason to step up on defense.  Nate is having so much trouble with ball screens, but it’s not all his fault.  The bigs have to do a better job of sliding over to cut off his attack…Another bad call for St. Johns.  Ahmed goes coast to coast, hits Coffey in the face bringing the ball across, knocks Coffey to the ground but gets the And1.  Another very poor call…MN 64 St. Johns 59…

Two more offensive boards given up for Red Storm scores.  Reggie Lynch has to make some contact, others too…Jordan Murphy brings that off ball scoring at a big time!  Coffey misses and Jordan collected and then muscled his way to and And1.  Also, Tariq Owens and his long frame has fouled out…Nate Mason uses a Lynch ball screen, no St. Johns player is there to defend so he nails a three.  Big shot with five minutes to go…Another part of Amir’s game that is really good?  The back to the basket post game.  Gophers feed Coffey and he uses a hook.  Has 26 points…Mn 76 StJ 67…

Did not like that last shot from Nate Mason.  Way too early in the shot clock, just not needed.  Not high percentage either…Murphy picks up a loss ball and muscles his way to a score.  Has a dozen despite barely playing in half one…St. Johns with fantastic ball movement to get a three.  The ball did a full 360 degrees around the court and while Minnesota was good in rotating, there was one guy left open and St. Johns found him…Murphy fouls out.  That is big as there is two and a half minutes left…Coffey in transition again!  St Johns tried to press but they couldn’t get a body in front of him.  He’s too big for guards, too quick for forwards…Lynch has ten boards after grabbing one in traffic…Mason hits four of four late foul shots inside of 90 seconds…Mason dribbles out about 25 seconds to hit a floater.  He’s got 11, fourth Gopher in double figures...Amir with two more foul shots, Dupree makes four more, and it’s big because LoVett just went over 30 so he had a game high 31 points.  Doesn’t matter though, Gophers win 92-86…

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