Gopher Game Blog: MN beats ASU, is 12-1

Let by 19 points from Dupree McBrayer, 15 and 8 from Jordan Murphy, and 14 from Akeem Springs, the Minnesota Gophers beat Arkansas State and finish non-conference play 12-1.

The analysis from GI is in the Gopher Game Blog as well as in the premium game thread.  Hit the link below to join the game thread.

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

Pregame

Amir Coffey will return this evening from his one game turf toe injury.  Coincidently right after the injury Richard Pitino was talking about playing Amir Coffey playing point guard which is something Amir's father has talked about him doing for many years.  After going 11-1 Pitino also talked about making some offensive changes which I believe would be trying Amir at lead guard.  Team is playing well so I'm not sure why they would mess with it but maybe it's a wrinkle that would make the team even more dangerous...Minnesota has already beaten Arkansas this year and now goes for a win against the Red Wolves from the same state.  Arkansas State is 9-3 on the season with losses at North Dakota State, TCU, and Alabama.  This is a team that won at Georgetown...Minnesota is expected to put Akeem Springs back in his 6th man role with Coffey joining Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Jordan Murphy, and Reggie Lynch as starters...Minnesota has been off for nine days...

First Half

Minnesota is switching screens just about everywhere save on the ASU center.  This has worked well for them this year most of the time…Gopher closeouts have been ugly.  Amir Coffey has had two bad ones and his second one cost his team an open three.  Amir has to stay down when closing out…Jordan Murphy took a charge!  Nice to see although I think it was a bad call….Murphy with an attacking score and then Jordan threw a nice high-low to Lynch for a score…Lynch runs the floor, gets the mismatch against a six footer, Mason finds him for an And1.  Minnesota ball movement has been excellent…MN 6 ASU 4…

Another good ball reversal goes to Nate Mason in the corner for a feet set three….Minnesota’s length coming at ASU shooters has been a big problem for the Red Wolves…All the subs came in for the Gophs and when they got back on defense the team left one of the guards wide open.  Players didn’t match up coming on the floor…Eric Curry comes off a baseline in-bounds screen to catch and hit a 15 footer wide open.  Touch looks good…Nate Mason with an attack and kick with Dupree hitting in the corner.  Nate drew in three guys with that attack.  He’s defending well too…Bakary is late in rotation to the attack and ASU gets a lay-up.  Bakary tries hard but is so often late in his defensive recognition still…MN 14 ASU 8….

Amir Coffey played a couple runs as the lead guard but his third defensive mistake (hands down, lazy feet) led to an ASU free throw set and Pitino gets Coffey out of the game because he has two fouls…Eric Curry moves with a screen but slow does not do his recovery justice and with McBrayer not helping ASU gets within three points…Nate Mason doesn’t get over the screen well and Lynch picks up the attacker and gets a soft foul.  If Mason played that possession with more effort than Reggie is still on the court…Dupree traps a guy against the sideline and gets a terrible reach call.  There was no need for Dupree to reach as the player was corner trapped but it still shouldn’t have been called…MN 18 ASU 14…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/812455858059825152

Way too many Gophers gambling on defense right now and being undisciplined in help, in close-outs, and positioning off ball.  Minnesota can’t get into a transition run when they are defending this loose…Bakary doesn’t come off a ball screen with the guard chasing so his man roles drawing Michael Hurt in and that levels Kern wide open for a three.  If the ball screen was defended Hurt wouldn’t have had to leave his man to take the rolling big….Hurt with a nice o-board collection and finish…Mason hustle, pass to McBrayer, Dupree sends to Akeem for a transition three!  Needed some scores on the move…That Bakary to Murphy dunk was all Murphy.  He had to make a tough catch and then finish.  The catch was the best part…MN 30 ASU 20…

https://twitter.com/MinnesotaOnBTN/status/812457950983778304

Mason hits another three moving without the ball, getting feet set, hitting….Mason to Murphy for another highlight…Mason with the skip to Springs for a three.  Nate Mason making plays all over the place…MN 40 ASU 26…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/812461907059888128

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/812462914384883712

Second Half

A pull-up from Dupree, a pull-up from Mason, the backdoor lob from Mason to Dupree and Minnesota withstands a nice offensive start for Arkansas State.  Mason and Dupree should be one of the best backcourts the next two years in the league which is something to enjoy…I just don’t like Amir at PG.  McBrayer and Mason are catching and going.  When Amir is at lead guard the posts simply aren’t touching the ball as Mason and McBrayer are in straight attack mode.  I feel like this team is just too good with Mason at lead guard to mess with it…Amir with the open floor dunk after a turnover, Mason with a finish after a turnover.  MN 55 ASU 38…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/812470390928932864

For the third time in the game Murphy catches and scores on a guard mismatch deep in the paint.  If they move the ball well they should be able to get that a couple more times…Bakary Konate usually brings energy and effort that helps the team.  Tonight though has been a struggle.  He’s solid when there is a big to work on in the post.  When he’s against small teams like this we see the flaws…Michael Hurt on again.  The ninth man role is his, no Ahmad Gilbert yet tonight…With eight minutes to go Reggie Lynch picks up his fourth foul of the game on yet another illegal screen.  Nine point game, time for Nate Mason to get back on the floor and play point guard…MN 63 ASU 54…

https://twitter.com/RyanJamesMN/status/812472456598487040

Eric Curry doesn’t make a box out hit, ASU gets the board, his guy scores over him.  Tough night for Eric so far with a couple missed lay-ups and only one rebound…Coffey is nearly unstoppable in transition.  Too much length, skill, and agility.  You just can’t get a good defensive position against him that completely lowers a percentage.  Defensively he is so dangerous in the passing lanes. Needs to be more disciplined but his length is so dangerous…Bakary is on the floor right now because Reggie is in foul trouble and Curry has really struggled.  Bakary hasn’t been very good but a little better…Now Bakary fouls and on comes Curry.  Both struggling…Coffey comes off the curl and throws the ball away so ASU scores and is within four scores.  Mason playing PG.  Mason takes a no pass pull-up contested three? Why? That misses, ASU scores, six point game…Now Curry with a dumb shot that misses and ASU goes to score.  What on earth are they doing?...Finally!  Gophers run some clock, get a reversal, Springs off ball cuts to a feet set three.  Ball movement, it’s an amazing thing…MN 74 ASU 66.

Gophs move the ball, McBrayer finds a cutting Coffey for a 1-footer, it’s a ten point game.  If the Gophs move the ball and get decent shots they will win this…Mason to Curry for a deep post pass and that’s a score.  Curry has played much better down the stretch than he did earlier…Gophers finish strong and finish non-conference play 12-1!....MN 82 ASU 75…

https://twitter.com/GopherHole/status/812479888800317441


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