Jordan Murphy's 35 points, 15 rebounds lead Minnesota over South Carolina Upstate

Rachel Blount, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Basketball

Minnesota's top returning scorer Nate Mason, a Naismith Trophy player of the year candidate, didn't score his first points until two free throws with 6:31 left in the first half.

Mason averaged 17 points in Big Ten play last season, including two 30-point performances. But the senior point guard was held to just 11 points Friday, including four points on 1-for-5 shooting in the first half. Pitino's three starting guards combined for just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting at halftime.

Outside shooting was a struggle against the zone defense. But Murphy's layup on a pass from Michael Hurt gave Minnesota a 12-2 run to take a 43-33 halftime advantage. Murphy and Lynch combined for 24 points and 14 rebounds in the first half.

The Trojans' frontline was 6-foot-7, 200-pound Ramel Thompkins and 6-6, 195-pound Carson Smith. It was almost unfair to ask them to hold their own physically against the Gophers' 6-10, 265-pound Lynch and 6-6, 240-pound Murphy.

To open the second half, Lynch scored on a put-back and Murphy muscled in a basket a minute later for a 15-point lead. The Trojans would cut it to a 70-61 with a 3-pointer from Thompkins with 7:33 remaining in the game.

But Murphy would score 15 points in the final seven minutes to put an exclamation point on Minnesota's first victory of the season.


The San Antonio native was more of a rebounder in his first two seasons, averaging just 11 points a game as a freshman and sophomore. But the Karl Malone Award candidate received a standing ovation Friday as he left the floor with one of the best offensive performances in the Barn's history.

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