Gopher Game Blog: Gophers hammer Georgia Southern 86-49

Minnesota improved to 9-1 on the season with a blowout victory over Georgia Southern. This was one of the most complete victories I can recall in Richard Pitino's tenure.

The Gopher Game Thread gives fans a chance to share their thoughts on tonight's contest while also interacting with the GI analysis.  The link is below:

http://www.scout.com/college/minnesota/forums/3581-the-gopher-report/152...

Pregame

Minnesota is 8-1 coming in, Georgia Southern is 4-4.  Eagles took NC State to the wire but have also lost to three mid/low major opponents.   Minnesota will start Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Reggie Lynch once again.  Georgia Southern starting their same group as usual: Smith, Glenn, Hughes, Brown, and O'Connell.  Ike Smith is a 22 point per game scoring sophomore...

First Half

Like most teams the Eagles doubled Jordan Murphy in the post and he turned it over to start the game...Closeouts early have been bad but Reggie Lynch blocked the attack saving McBrayer.  Nate Mason's bad closeout led to an attack and finish for Georgia Southern.  O'Connell faked Murphy out of his shoes for the low post score...Lynch has already had two "back-in" box-outs instead of turning to make contact and one of them led to an Eagle shot...Looks like Georgia Southern watched the FSU game tape because they are trapping Mason across halfcourt and defending in the same defensive way zone wise.  Total effort to get the ball out of Mason's hands and Minnesota really struggled with that previously...Murphy hits a long 18 footer.  That's good to see.  When it's within the flow and he's confident, it's a good shot.  Mason easily breaks the trap and kicks to Dupree McBrayer who hits his second jumper.  Excellent shooting to start...MN 10 GSU 4...

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/807407928525389824

Dupree McBrayer needs to do a better job of fighting over screens.  It looks like Pitino wants him chasing them which is fine, but McBrayer is knocked off balance so easily screen wise…Mason hits again.  Nice shooting start for Nate.  Mason hits again at the arc?  Looks like he is about to shoot Georgia Southern out of the zone.  Good ball movement too from Coffey…GSU now gives up the zone.  Murphy takes an early jumper and misses.  That’s the problem with guys who aren’t consistent shooters making an early one.  He gets excited and then takes a jumper early in the possession…Reggie Lynch cleaned up the Murphy miss with a dunk and then Reggie went back the other way and altered a sure lay-up stopping the Eagles from two points…Gophers go to three off the bench: Ahmad Gilbert, Eric Curry, and Akeem Springs…Tough start for Gilbert who had a bad turnover and missed a quick, but open jumper.  Bakary Konate is coming in next…Reggie gets foul number two after seven minutes hitting the attacker in the head…Love what Nate Mason is doing on both ends.  Taking and making good shots, is really harassing the ball on defense.  Nice pass in transition to Springs for a second 3 too…MN 26 GSU 11…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/807411175306784768

McBrayer with maybe some of the worst help and recover on an opposing attack I’ve ever seen.  He basically just spun around in a weird way allowing an Eagle three.  Tough defensive start for him despite that first transition score off a turnover…McBrayer with the one dribble attack drawing in the defense and then kicking to Springs for his third three.  Great offensive sequence from Dupree as GSU tried the zone again…Curry with another foul and he has to sit…Another kickout to Springs for an open shot. Nice pass from Coffey inside…Now an And1 for Dupree who made a pull-up after a behind the back dribble…Murphy sells out on a fake from his man allowing a wide open three.  Not a disciplined play at all on D.  Makes up for it on offense though with a deep post score…GSU gets a three and then Springs takes a terrible quick three.  It’s a bad shot that we used to see from him a lot.  Not as much any more…MN 38 GSU 24…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/807413466218827776

Eagles give Murphy space, he hits!  Makes me nervous but it went for the second time…Georgia State has started switching all screens as Minnesota has gone really small so they feel good about the match-ups and it’s worked well…Murphy dribbles way too much from the elbow, gets doubled again, turns the ball over again.  He’s so good and when his decision making improves he will be so much better. Lots to learn still…Coffey has missed his last three slashing/cutting attacks.  Got the ball to the rim but didn’t finish.  Those are shots he usually makes….Springs tells Bakary to cut off the ball as Akeem took another guy, Bakary just ignores it, GSU gets a wide open lay-up.  Pitino hollering and Bakary…And Konate with another illegal screen which he does a couple times a game.  Pitino didn’t like it, I don’t like it.  The guy tripped on Konate plain and simple.  Bakary never moved…Bakary finished the half with a couple blocks…MN 45 GSU 32…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/807417974084829184

Second Half

Murphy starts the half with a bad three that misses.  One of those situations where an early make can hurt a team later…Love what Minnesota is doing on defense.  They are talking out switches early and loudly, taking great angles off screens and to force attacks off their line, active hands and feet.  Jordan Murphy is making great box-out hits now just clearing the opponents.  Obvious that Pitino had something to say at the half…Nate Mason pushing the pace, gets his 6th assist dishing to Reggie for his third dunk of the half.  Mason is killing Tookie on defense too. The Eagle guard can’t get into space…Excellent start and it’s been great team basketball on both ends…MN 58 GSU 37…

Minnesota had scored on seven straight possessions and Mason played a big part in nearly all of them.  Steals, quick push, 7 dimes, one turnover, hitting shots, he’s in control…Michael Hurt steps on the floor and misses three open threes.  He’s 0 for 9 from the arc this year.  His teammates wanted him to drop the shots so bad as they all jumped on to the floor the first two.  They know he can shoot, just not dropping yet…Michael and Eric Curry completely loss the best GSU shooter and he’s wide open for a three.  That was Michael’s guy, not sure what happened as it looked like he wanted Curry to switch off.  Odd mistake, but a freshman mistake between the two…Hurt playing instead of Gilbert…MN 61 GSU 43…

Same GSU player just beat Michael Hurt around the screen, caught, then beat Michael to the middle to get foul shots…Hurt having some defensive troubles on the last two possessions so Coffey comes on for him…Minnesota has the ball flying all over the court both in halfcourt and transition.  Good shots every time.  Consistent unselfishness.  What more is there to say?  Gophers looking excellent.  McBrayer and Mason are the catalysts, Springs right there too, Coffey ball movement may not be as noticed but it’s been just as key…MN 71 GSU 45…

Minnesota has the bench on the floor with Hurt, Gilbert, Stephon Sharp, Brady Rudrud, and Gaston Diedhiou...Before all the bench came on Michael Hurt hit his first three of the year, and then followed that with a cut for a score and a pair of free throws. Maybe the confidence is there now and this can springboard something...Stephon Sharp was solid, had a really nice pass to Hurt on the attack...Gilbert is starting to struggle with his touch.  Need him to start hitting again...Minnesota wins 86-49...

https://twitter.com/GopherMBB/status/807433627575484416


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