Gopher Game Blog: Gophers over Illinois 68-59

With four guys in double figures, only five turnovers, and a much tougher performance mentally and physically the Gophers beat Illinois on the road 68-59.

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http://www.scout.com/college/minnesota/forums/3581-the-gopher-report/153...

First Half

Amir Coffey gives up an offensive board and it becomes a Malcolm Hill jumper.  Amir has a terrible time blocking out, gives up too many second chances.  He also carried for a turnover and then didn’t get over on a screen allowing Illinois to get Maverick Morgan a feed for a dunk…However, Amir gets those four points back for his team by hitting a three while fouled.  Four point play….Reggie Lynch having trouble moving around on defense.  Illinois has taken him away from the cup twice to open space for scores…Bad start for Jordan Murphy.  He misses a three (why????) and then gets outfought for a d-board by a smaller guy who then scored.  Now Murphy switches on to Te’Jon Lucas and he hits a three over him.  Just awful defense.  Minnesota again not communicating and not reacting on defense with any type of instant activity….MN 11 IL 16…

Dupree McBrayer comes on the floor and leads Eric Curry with a terrible pass.  That terrible pass forces Eric Curry to try and save it from going out of bounds and it’s a turnover.  Then Bakary Konate gets destroyed inside on a post move by Mike Thorne. Effort has to be better…Malcolm Hill has two fouls.  That’s big for MN…MN 13 IL 18…

Illinois goes zone defense and Minnesota did a fantastic job of moving the ball to the middle to find Coffey who then looked at his options, found Curry, Curry found Bakary.  Teams don’t zone Minnesota because they have too many good passers and too many good slashers…Nate struggling from the field again.  He’s had his trouble scoring on the attack and today he is 1 of 4…Bakary with the worst shot attempt every as it misses everything and just floats into nowhere…McBrayer tries an attacking shot over two guys.  At some point this guy has to learn that if he doesn’t attack at smarter times he will never get the same minutes he did earlier in the year…Amir Coffey has had some excellent passes creating chances for others….Reggie Lynch with a big effort play on that second chance score.  That is the energy this team needs…Ahmad Gilbert is on the floor! First time in a long time.  Needs to play with energy…Reggie Lynch goes baseline and scores again.  Big play again, and back the other way Lynch with some great defense forcing Maverick Morgan over the top…MN 19 IL 20…

Reggie is working so hard inside.  Boxing out physically.  Defending in a fantastic way.  One of his most energetic games and the team needs this so bad.  It’s the way of a leader and the rest need to follow…Dupree leads the break and Akeem Springs throws up his second airball of the game….Reggie with a huge block on Hill.  Fantastic block.  Block of the week caliber…Amir Coffey with another three and he also just dove for a loose ball…Curry outworks Maverick Morgan for a board and Maverick gets his third foul.  Not Maverick Ahanmisi, Maverick Morgan (hehe)…Reggie Lynch with two free throws.  Something is different about this Gopher team right now.  Great signs…MN 30 IL 25…

Kipper Nichols steps away from Murphy, catches, hits a three.  I don’t even think Murphy noticed.  He just stood there and ball watched as Nichols left him and caught to shoot.  It’s the third time that Nichols has made a play.  Twice against Murphy.  Jordan needs some things to go right in the worst way….McBrayer missing shots, not playing with energy….Murphy can’t collect the ball off the glass, Morgan gets a free dunk, is fouled.  Man, what can you say?  More Murphy problems…Dupree attacks and hits a baseline jumper.  That could be a big shot for him.  They need him to get back to the double figure scoring days (but with good shots)…Dupree takes another contested shot.  I just don’t get it.  The guy is  eight inches taller and in good position.  Kick it out or dribble it out…Coffey randomly swipes at a post leaving his man, pass goes to Coffey’s guy, Nichols scores again.  Just not smart…MN 35 IL 35…

https://twitter.com/Marcus_R_Fuller/status/827999298205970432

Second Half

Coffey with another brilliant pass after the attack.  He drew in the defense and then found Lynch for a score.  When Amir catches on a ball reversal against a rotating defense good things happen.  They need to find him in that way much more often…Mason hits a three off a Reggie Lynch ball screen.  That’s a big play for Minnesota and Mason…Akeem Springs just tried a crazy dunk. If that would of went down the team would of went wild…We’ve seen some Jordan Murphy effort plays with a block and an offensive board.  Good signs.  Baby steps…Jordan Murphy with an aggressive box out and d-board collection…Reggie catches and destroys Mike Finke with a post move.  Aggressive right shoulder turn and finish.  Great move…Ball is kicked out to Coffey, he attacks and scores.  Get it to him on the back side every time! MN 44 IL 37…

Reggie Lynch on the low post move again, then Curry with a beautiful feed to Reggie for a dunk.  Lynch is killing Illinois up front…Coffey jumps a passing lane and misses so it’s another easy jumper for Malcolm Hill.  Amir Coffey and others should not be taking chances on Hill.  That’s twice Amir has and he’s giving up scores…Mason hits his second jumper of the half.  Very important…Nate Mason attacks the ball screen and scores. Mason looks to be coming out of his slump in this game and it’s needed so badly for this team…Mason with the ball screen from Bakary and hits! Ten point game…MN 54 IL 44…

Amir Coffey rotates to help with great effort and it leads to a bad pass picked by Eric Curry who also rotated with strong effort to get to the spot.  These are plays Minnesota hasn’t been making in recent games in the second half when legs get tired.  More good signs…Curry wrestles away a rebound, sends the ball ahead, finds Dupree for a transition basket.  Ten point game…Minnesota only has four turnovers…Coffey takes another gamble off Hill, does get back but his feet were off so Hill attacked him middle and almost mad him pay for his gamble again but Reggie with a huge block.  Lynch has been massive…Reggie is calling for the ball aggressively.  Demanding it actually….Dupree with another attacking shot over size that is missed.  That’s no good but his transition score is great off another Illinois turnover…MN 59 IL 46…

Out of the timeout by Pitino after two Illinois scores the Gophers get Reggie a touch but then whatever Lynch did after was not what they asked him to because Pitino and Murphy told him he did it wrong.  Mason still got a shot but it missed…Springs with a massive three with the shot clock winding down.  It was contested, not really the shot you would want as it was contested, but Akeem made it anyway.  Huge make…Hill beats Coffey with the corner turn just out-muscling him and that brings Reggie over.  Shot misses but Reggie’s man gets the putback score…Mason tries a flashing attack but tries to shoot over two.  Doesn’t go and I don’t like it.  Work for a better shot when you are up like this late…MN 62 IL 56…

Nate Mason attacks and a beautiful fake draws the defense away allowing Nate the room to score.  What a fake on the attack!...Gophers have not taken three bad shots in the last five possessions but got o-boards on two of them (Curry and Coffey)…Not understanding why Murphy is on the floor right now.  Maybe Pitino is trying to show confidence in him…Gophers put things away defensively, win 68-59…


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