The Minnesota Gophers took to the road to face a tough Providence team and left with a solid win.
The 86-74 final on the scoreboard was not a good indication of how the game went for the Minnesota Gophers on Monday evening. While the Big Ten team won by 12, it was the Big East’s Providence squad that had the lead for a good chunk of the game including well into the second half. A lot of things didn’t go well for Minnesota, but they still managed to beat a team that is just outside the top 25 in the country.
The Golden Gophers got out quickly to a ten point lead in the game with a 12-2 start, but soon mental mistakes and lack of effort set in for Minnesota. Richard Pitino’s team at times didn’t get back on defense, didn’t play great defense when they did get back, didn’t rebound and committed stupid fouls. Despite all of that, they still won.
There are some things to fix, but there are some great things to take away from the win over Providence for the Gophers.
Jordan Murphy dominated for a second straight game. After scoring 30-plus in the regular season opener, Murphy followed that up with 23 points and 14 rebounds on Monday night. Murphy had moments where he dribbled too much on the outskirts of the play, but had moments of brilliance to even it out. Gophers observers all knew that Murphy could be a really good player but I don’t think anyone thought he’d be this good.
Amir Coffey was cold in the first half, but got hot in the second half. Coffey hit three big three-pointers in the second half to push the Gophers further in front of the Friars. Coffey scored 15 in the game.
Nate Mason quietly had 17 points. It is impressive at the college level for anyone to have a quiet 17, but Mason did while running the Gophers offense.
Isaiah Washington came off the bench and showed why he was such a highly sought after prospect. Washington only had eight points, but showed flashes of what is to come as he gets more accustomed to the college game.
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All in all, the Gophers didn’t play great, but still defeated a pretty good team. That is an accomplishment and says a lot about how good this team truly can be..
Also it looks like the Gophers might be so deep that the offensive stud might be a different player every night. We all know that Murphy, Coffey and Mason can easily drop 25 or so points in a game and it looks like Washington is on his way to being able to do that, too. We also shouldn’t sleep on Reggie Lynch and Dupree McBrayer’s abilities to fill it up, either.
It wasn’t the perfect game for Pitino’s squad, but it showed a lot about this Gophers team. Buckle up, folks, this is going to be a fun ride.
The Gophers are back in action on Wednesday when they take on Niagara from The Barn.