Minnesota beats Oral Roberts 77-63
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota had more than a week to try and bounce back from a rough three-game stretch that included a pair of road losses and a narrow one-point home win.
It seems the rest paid off for the Golden Gophers.
Jordan Murphy scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season to lift Minnesota to a 77-63 win over Oral Roberts on Thursday night.
Sophomore Amir Coffey chipped in 15 points and senior point guard Nate Mason scored 14 as the Golden Gophers (10-3) pulled away in the second half against the Golden Eagles (4-11).
“We’re slowly getting our confidence back, which is important,” said Minnesota coach Richard Pitino.
Oral Roberts forward Chris Miller scored a career-high 18 points. Minnesota struggled to defend the Golden Eagles big man, who shot 9 of 15 from the floor. Emmanuel Nzekwesi added 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Rebounds kept Oral Roberts in the game in the first half. Minnesota, ranked in the Top 25 earlier this year, led by just four points at halftime after getting outrebounded 22-19 in the first half.
A newfound confidence after the break helped Minnesota eventually coast to a 14-point win.
The Gophers used an 11-0 run early in the second half to grow their lead to double-digits. Murphy and Coffey scored all 11 points during that stretch. That was part of a larger 23-4 run that resulted in a 20-point advantage.
“Coach was really stressing us about our physicality on the boards,” said Murphy, the nationws leading rebounder, who had just three boards in the first half. “I think that’s what really got the run going.”
Murphy has a double-double in each of Minnesota’s games this season, yet it looked in doubt early. But he grabbed his 10th rebound late in the second half before heading to the bench with the game in hand.
“I was really biting my nails on that one,” Murphy said.
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