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Gopher Game Blog: Minnesota caughs up a tough one to MSU at home

Minnesota was up twelve and let a struggling Michigan State team come back and win 75-74 in overtime. Jordan Murphy had 21 rebounds but former Gopher Alvin Ellis had 20 and Nick Ward killed Minnesota inside with 22.

The Gopher Game Thread is up and running in the premium message board thread which is linked below:

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

Pregame

The football game is up on the big screen for fans coming in early...Gophers are in home golds tonight...Race Thompson and AJ Green, a couple 2018 four star talents, are the recruiting guests tonight.  There may be others pending the high school team activities of the players....Gavin Schilling and UNLV/Oregon transfer Ben Carter have been injured all year.  Miles Bridges is very, very doubtful and did not warm up.  Standing in street clothes.  That gives Michigan State one frontcourt player in Nick Ward and a 6-foot-6 worker in Kenny Goins who can play PF...Minnesota will start Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Amir Coffey, Dupree McBrayer, and Nate Mason again tonight...MSU changed their starting line-up last game going with three freshman (Ward, Joshua Langford, and Cassius Winston) as well as seniors Matt Van Dyk and Matt McQuaid sitting seniors Goins and Eron Harris as well as Tum Tum Nairs who was wearing a walking boot two days ago but is warming up.  Who do they start tonight? We will know soon...MSU is 8-5, Minnesota is 12-1...

First Half

Nate Mason gives up an offensive rebound on defensive possession one.  Didn’t cost them but a bad sign considering Minnesota issues with Spartans on the glass in the past…Two very weak calls early.  Light contact both ways.  Officials setting a tone…Jordan Murphy stole from Nick Ward and Reggie Lynch gave him a lot of trouble so far early in low post defense…Dupree McBrayer catches a reversal and attacks the rotating defense for a pretty finger roll.  He attacks space with so much aggression…Another Murphy block.  He and Lynch have been outstanding in the paint on defense early.  Jordan also just bulled his way to the rim for a score.  He’s been doing some of everything…Mason with the deep drag stepping back into a there and Gophers up 10-6 early…

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Bakary Konate comes on and instantly gets an offensive foul.  You almost have to expect one of him a game now which is annoying as that is a turnover…Amir Coffey having some early struggles with turnovers in what looks like nerves.  Just jumped a passing lane and went the other way for foul shots.  Usually he finishes that for an And1.  Makes it worse by missing a foul shot.  It’s just nerves for this huge game.  He makes the second…Ted Valentine strikes with another terrible call for his resume.  Konate gets foul two after fighting for a board and he was nearly tackled to the ground before shouldering the guy off.  That is one of Ted’s all time worst and he of course brought the anticipation and drama….Now Reggie Lynch gets a terrible offensive foul, and then a foul the other way.  Gophers are out of centers for half one although they can go back to Konate until he gets foul three….We have an Alvin Ellis sighting! Remember when he and Alex Foster were going to be Gophers?  That worked out well for Minnesota (Spoke too soon here).  Ellis just hit a three though…Jordan Murphy with the shoulder turn and puts a foul on Nick Ward and that was light…MN 15 MSU 9…

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Jordan Murphy finishes off 30 seconds of defense moving his feet laterally and keeping MSU from even getting a shot off.  Murphy has been great on defense, Minnesota has been very strong….Gophers are 3 of 8 from the foul line.  That must improve as this 16-9 lead should be double digits but they have floundered free ones…Michael Hurt forces a turnover with some solid position defense…Another soft offensive foul.  That’s about four total, at least two were weak.  Too many whistles regardless…Michigan State has ten fouls already…Alvin Ellis with two threes to get this game close. Looks like I spoke too soon…Amir Coffey misses the lob to him but still pokes it in somehow.  Amir is not having a clean half but still making things happen…MSU with another offensive foul and now Goins has two. So many whistles…MN 20 MSU 15…

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Nate Mason with a crazy extension to finish against a positioned defender and then he races back to cut off Winston with a disciplined stance to keep Winston in front.  This eventually forced a turnover…That bad foul shooting start is now evening out to 7-12.  That’s one arguably two short of where it needs to be…Eric Curry stays disciplined and swats a Nick Ward shot around the basket and then Coffey goes the other way for a finger roll!  MSU needs a timeout…Jordan Murphy with a great box-out hit again, collects, is fouled, makes foul shots.  He’s been outstanding.  Six rebounds already…Curry with foul two with four minutes to go.  That’s three bigs with two fouls but Pitino can come back with Konate for one more foul…MN 32 MSU 21…

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Mason completely shakes Winston with a left handed attack pull-up from 15 feet.  Gorgeous pull-up only from the wing and not the elbow this time…Bakary Konate gets foul three so back on comes Eric Curry who has two fouls.  How long before the Gophers go small? They may have to if Curry gets number three as you can’t risk Lynch getting three…Amir Coffey sees his man sink with the screen so he hits a massive three to give the Gophs a 39-24 lead.  Massive.  Izzo needs a timeout…In the last minute coming out of a timeout, Pitino tries a zone look so MSU can’t use a called set against a man to man.  It becomes a Ward deep post score and a lot of Akeem Springs running around…Minnesota 39 Michigan State 26….

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/813942225952505856

Second Half

Ward gets ahead, Murphy makes a good defensive play, but then Lynch smacks him.  Reggie now has three fouls but will stay on because the guys that would come on for him have three as well…Gophers help on the drive but it was three guys leaving Ellis to collect and hit an easy jumper.  Ellis has ten and has been the best MSU perimeter scorer…Gophers come out extremely rusty on offense.  Two more turnovers, a missed lay-up, and now a dumb lob pass from Mason.  The lead is down to eight…Now Mason takes just a dumb early shot clock three and Ellis goes the other way to score… Pitino timeout…Out of the timeout Amir Coffey gets a reverse lay-up and then Murphy closes a defensive possession with a monster board.  Some of the that momentum was grabbed back…Tum Tum hits a buzzer beating three and MSU is down six.  That’s rare, what can you do?  MN 42 MSU 36…

Mason pushes the pace against a retreating defense and finds Springs for a three to get the lead back to double digits.  However, young Curry and Murphy mess up a switch and MSU gets a lay-up.  Communication error.  There have been few tonight but that was one…Curry to Lynch who has a small on him, Reggie physically goes at the MSU small and finishes.  When the Gophs move the ball they will get mismatches and there are potential size mismatches all over….Lead back to twelve…MN 52 MSU 40…

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Defender falls down chasing McBrayer, Dupree attacks, scores.  Excellent recognition by him, terrible help defense by MSU…Curry gets foul four.  Lynch has four.  Konate comes on with three.  There is 11 minutes left…Ward bulls over Bakary and Bakary has four.  He stays on the floor and Pitino is likely just to go with he until he gets five, Curry till he gets five, Lynch till he gets five…Meanwhile, the game has hit a lull and Tum Tum Nairns has come down hill at Minnesota for points two of the last three possessions…Bakary gets hacked, no call.  MSU travels, no call.  Crowd is nuts but then a massive Murphy block gets their attention from the refs.  Problem is Ward scores again as the Gopher size can’t be physical with him or it will foul out…MN 55 MSU 50….

Dupree McBrayer misses a front end of a one and one when Minnesota was up only two and now that solid defense is leaking all over.  Gophs give up a lay-up and it’s a tie game…Winston smashes Coffey in the face for his fourth foul and then runs around wondering why…Coffey hits two foul shots, goes the other way for a box-out hit, pushes for a Murphy attempt who fouls Goins out…Ward catches, scores easily on Lynch.  Reggie can’t be as physical as usual and MSU is taking advantage…Nate Mason splits the defense and hits that trademark elbow area pull-up.  Now the Barn is insane but Ward catches, scores, fouls Reggie Lynch out…Nate Mason gives the Gophs the lead back with free throw makes…Gophers send a double at Ward but he spins through it and scores anyway…Now he spins the other way out of the double and scores again.  This foul trouble has completely allowed Ward to do what he wants and now he’s destroying Minnesota…MN 61 MSU 64…

Winston attacks Mason and scores at the rim.  Konate was so focused on Ward he didn’t get to his help and Mason has to be better than that on D…Mason attacks to finish, one point game….Dupree with a wide open jumper, but it misses…Back the other way Bakary Konate with a huge block and Nate Mason is fouled the other way.  That fouls Winston out.  Two huge defensive plays from Bakary since coming on…Mason hits one foul shot to tie the game but misses the second…Nick Ward continues to miss foul shot after foul shot and his latest miss means this goes to overtime (Coffey airballed a late chance)…MN 66 MSU 66…

Overtime

Dupree steps through on a move and the ball rims out, but Bakary gets it, and drops it.  What can you do?  The effort was there…Murphy knocks out a pair of foul shots tying the game.  Huge drops for a struggling foul shooter…Tum Tum Nairn hits another late shot clock three.  He’s coming up big late in the game…Gophs find Murphy who overpowers the smaller Ellis and scores an And1.  Misses the And1 attempt though…Bakary forces a near turnover from Ward and then goes back the other way to score on a putback!...Harris attacks the Gophs on a ball screen as they were too focused on Ward and its Spartans one point lead…Dupree hits two free throws and Minnesota has a one point lead, 24 seconds left…Bakary fronts Ward coming off the screen so MSU can’t pass to him on the roll which is what Izzo wanted but in the confusion Minnesota fouled Ellis when he was pivoting…Alvin Ellis makes both foul shots…Mason misses and Michigan State wins 75-74….


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