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Gopher Game Blog: Minnesota defeats NIU 77-57

Minnesota overcame a tough first half to control Northern Illinois in the second half for a 77-57 win. Five Gophers again scored in double figures led by Reggie Lynch's dominance inside on both ends.

Gopher Illustrated fans can comment on today's game in the premium board game thread while also seeing our analysis there.  The link is below:

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

Pregame

Minnesota to start Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Reggie Lynch once again, a starting group that got this team to 9-1.  NIU is 4-4 on the year and is playing their first game against a major conference opponent.  Marshawn Wilson is from Oakdale, Minnesota where he went to school at Tartan and Hill-Murray.  Wilson was recruited by Minnesota but the Gophers stopped when they learned they could not get him into school (same with most programs).  UNI has benched Wilson for discipline reasons for most of the season so far...

First Half

Teams continue to go at Dupree McBrayer with ball screens and McBrayer gets taken out of the play plus Reggie can’t cut off the angle, NIU score…Jordan Murphy catches deep, a second NIU defenders comes, shot is blocked.  Teams keep sending two at him and Jordan still having trouble with length which is partially natural as he is 6-foot-6.  Gophs go back to Jordan and he travels against two defenders…Reggie Lynch forcing the NIU top post Marin Maric high off the block taking him away from his comfort zone and taking him out of plays…Maric bocks Reggie on a post move and that is three blocks for him already…Minnesota is getting looks on the perimeter but only Dupree has hit.  Getting good deep post touches but have tried scoring over the top and haven’t succeeded…Lynch continues to push Maric high off the block where he caught and missed away from his comfort zone…Gophs get Murphy a deep post touch before Maric was back down the floor and he has space to score for a second time…MN 7 NIU 4…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/808071963419824132

Marshawn Wilson on the floor earlier than usual.  Marshawn of course is a local kid…Maric now has four blocks after swatting a Coffey putback chance…For the second straight game Bakary Konate and Akeem Springs on the floor before Eric Curry.  This I think has more to do with getting Reggie and Dupree early breaks than it is them being more important than Curry…Konate slow to recover to Maric on the ball screen release and Maric makes a 17 footer…Coffey with a passing lane jump followed by a floor dive and the ball goes to Mason, back to Coffey for a score.  Excellent efforts from Nate and Amir to put the team up three…Bakary misses a bunny after taking an extra power dribble rolling to the rim.  Not sure why he did that…Nobody can hit contested or open shots so far.  Solid defense but not so amazing, teams struggling to hit good looks…Murphy falls, is slow in getting back, his man runs ahead, Bakary looking at his man misses Jordan’s and it’s an easy lay-up.  Jordan has to get back and Bakary has to be aware which he wasn’t….Akeem catches a reversal from Amir and it’s a three.  Coffey’s simple passes should never be overlooked…MN 12 NIU 8…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/808073584446996484

Michael Hurt on the floor tonight before Ahmad Gilbert so he gets the edge tonight in the “battle for 9th man” that seems to go on each game...Reggie and Dupree back on, Amir and Nate get their breaks as does Jordan Murphy.  You can see this rotation becoming routine with the exception of who that 9th guy is…NIU’s Justin Thomas over helps and Dupree catches the reversal and attacks space hard for a score.  Thomas is already giving up four inches and then over helps so he had no chance to stop the quick attack of Dupree…Hurt gets beat baseline because he shifted his weight because of a fake and then couldn’t get back on balance to move his feet to cut off the angle so he had to foul.  Michael had that problem once in the previous game too…Jalen Key makes a nearly impossible shot over Eric Curry 10 feet one handed from the hoop.  Kind of wild, somewhat lucky to go…MN 15 NIU 10…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/808074734709706752

Dupree throws a wild lob pass to Reggie that wasn’t even close.  Reggie didn’t get separation.  That looks like it was called in the timeout but you can’t force it if there is no space regardless if that was the call…Reggie forces Maric up the block again, Maric doesn’t want to shoot that far away with back to the basket, throws a pass that is picked.  Good defense by Reggie again…Wilson scores in Williams Arena, that is his sixth basket of the season after scoring 11 points a game last year…Murphy takes and misses a three that was wide open.  1) good shot as it was open, within the flow, and it was his first, and 2) he was open for a reason…Reggie goes to help, Nate Mason doesn’t help over, easy Maric score.  No effort at all to help from Nate Mason.  Bad defense by Nate…Now it’s Akeem Springs who is late on his help rotation and NIU moves the ball for another score.  Four point game…Curry with a nice post feed to Lynch who turns left and makes a nice post score.  Reggie then decides that he should shoot a quick 19 footer? It wasn’t even close…NIU 17 MN 22…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/808078458748305408

Lynch gets the post deep and uses that left shoulder turn into a right hand finish for the second time.  Meanwhile Coffey and Murphy are out with foul trouble…Marshawn physically attacks the rim and scores deep in the paint.  Just blew by Dupree easily…Marshawn scores on Dupree again, and then Wilson talks trash to him and gets a technical.  Wilson had five scores all year, gets three today but then gets a technical.  I guess we have a clue as to why he isn’t playing…Akeem gets caught on a screen and Highsmith attacks with the space to score.  Bad help again from Minnesota as Curry nor Lynch cut the ball off instead looking for blocks…Nate Mason and Dupree totally engaged in a lot of trash talk…MN 29 NIU 23…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/808082536920416258

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/808080591136714752

Second Half

Dupree McBrayer watches the ball, ignores Highsmith, and Highsmith almost dunks on Murphy.  No effort at all from McBrayer there.  Again, terrible offer off the ball from a Gopher guard.  Became NIU free throws…Dupree hits Reggie in the face with a pass from four feet and then doesn’t get back.  NIU scores and Dupree’s effort has been so poor I would have him out now…Murphy gets a low post touch and scores as Minnesota needed a score badly…NIU guard goes right at Mason and scores in transition, no ball stoppage from Mason.  Back the other way Dupree takes a fast, low percentage shot.  Tired of watching Minnesota’s guards today.  Very undisciplined.  Luckily for them Murphy just cleaned up another mess…Lynch to Murphy post to post for another score.  Next time down Mason takes just a horrible no-pass pull-up that was contested.  Maybe the dumbest shot I’ve seen this year.  Yes dumber than some of the open looks the bigs took.  Lucky for him he was fouled on that dumb shot and made 2 of 3 foul shots…Dupree can’t get off a screen so Bakary can’t release to his man leaving both the ball and the rolling big.  NIU gets a foul.  More Dupree trouble on ball screens…Coffey gets foul three having to go get Dupree’s guy in rotation and Coffey tripped Wilson out.  Both Coffey and Murphy have three fouls…Mason moves the ball and Springs hits a big corner jumper. That was big, Gophs needed it…MN 40 NIU 32…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/808086723032940544

Springs moves around the ball screen and the defense can’t stay in front and he scores.  Akeem has stepped up the guard play quickly…Mason feeds Lynch with a nice bounce pass and once again the Gopher bigs are open to produce….Murphy forces base, Lynch gets the block, Springs rotates and is in space to collect the ball.  Better job there on defense.  Back the other way the ball is moved, Reggie is fouled, Gophers get a double figure lead.  Much better…Gopher effort on defense is improved.  Shots are better contested, Michael Hurt had a good box-out that resulted in a foul call on NIU…Gophers do another strong job fighting over screens, closing out on shooters, and get a strong defensive possession complete with Hurt shot contest and board.  Good job by Hurt, Springs, Curry, and Lynch is getting results both ways…Curry with an o-board and just losses the ball in the air.  He really does struggle to finish around the cup in traffic…Spin move by Dupree into a runner.  Nice score and his effort has picked up both ways…MN 50 NIU 38…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/808090933803753472

Marshawn Wilson takes a shoulder bump from Springs and dives on the floor first like he was sucker punched and second like he was going out of control into the pool…More post to post work with Lynch going to Curry for a score.  These posts pair so well to one another…Wilson hits a three and has matched his scoring output for the year, and then gets in Akeem’s face.  Honestly dude?  You haven’t played all year really, finally on the court, and you almost get another technical foul for taunting.  Where is your head?...Springs slides over to take a charge but the ball is turned over before that the position forced a bad pass.  Dupree scores the other way and the defense is so much better…MN 55 NIU 43…

Murphy knocks out a pair of foul shots after an open floor run.  Good all around game from him…Maric finally gets Reggie deep inside to score.  That’s the first deep post touch for him that has went for points in some way because Reggie has been so much better.  Back the other way Reggie makes up for that NIU score with a physical putback dunk…NIU losses Coffey in the middle, Mason finds him with a pass when Coffey flashed, it’s a score.  Better pass from Mason…Reggie rolls off the screen, nobody on NIU rotates, Coffey hits him for the dunk.  UNI team defense is awful right now…Mason takes a chance on defense and gives up a basket but UNI was so slow in transition that Mason flew by them for an And1.  Heads up play by Mason and just terrible defense from the Huskies.  No effort…Maric tries the hook and Reggie throws it back in his face.  Lynch has dominated Maric…MN 68 NIU 49…

Coffey runs the offense at PG the last three minutes and instantly gets Bakary a dunk.  Amir has been pushing the ball whenever he can but has rarely been the true one on the floor as McBrayer, Mason, or Stephon Sharp have been on the floor with him.  Not right now though as Amir is the lone ball handler…Curry launches a fast trey and misses. Remember what we said about bigs and quick threes?  Coffey forgets quickly though and gets Curry an open floor score…Hurt catches in high post, kicks to Gilbert open in the corner, Ahmad hits a three…Marshawn Wilson had made 5 shots all year but gets 7 in this game for his 18 points.  Gophers handle NIU though 77-56…

https://twitter.com/GopherMBB/status/808098134786277380


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