Gophers Squeak Past Drake
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jordan Murphy posted his 12th straight double-double to start the season with 24 points and 18 rebounds, and Minnesota held off Drake 68-67 on Monday night.
Amir Coffey added 16 points — all in the second half — and Nate Mason scored 12 for Minnesota (9-3).
Ore Arogundade led the Bulldogs (5-5) with 15 points, while Graham Woodward added 15 and De'Antae McMurray 12.
Dupree McBrayer's 3-pointer with nine minutes to play gave Minnesota its first lead, 50-47. His steal and dunk gave the Gophers their largest lead at 61-54.
Woodward, a senior from nearby Edina, Minn., hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to cut Minnesota's lead to 64-62 with two minutes to play. But Murphy scored off an offensive rebound and added another bucket in the low post.
Drake scored five points in the final six seconds, but the rally fell just short.
The Gophers missed their first six shots while 3-pointers by Woodward, McMurray and Noah Thomas gave Drake an 11-3 lead. After a timeout, Murphy scored eight straight points for Minnesota to tie it at 11.
Minnesota shot just 30 percent from the field in the first half and the Bulldogs took advantage. Arogundade sank a pair of 3s and Drake built its lead back up to eight. Mason scored the last four points of the half as the Gophers pulled to within 28-24.
McMurray and Thomas hit 3-pointers, and Reed Timmer sank three free throws early in the second half as Drake pulled ahead 41-32.
Drake: Bulldogs coach Niko Medved is a Minnesota native and alumnus, having served as a student manager under former Gophers coach Clem Haskins. Returning to Williams Arena in his first year at Drake, his squad certainly gave a team that is presumed to be a Big Ten contender all it could handle.
Minnesota: Coming off consecutive double-digit losses at Nebraska and Arkansas that knocked them out of the Top 25, the Gophers didn't want to head into their 10-day finals break with a bad taste in their mouths. Mission partly accomplished. Minnesota got the win, but in a frustratingly ugly fashion for coach Richard Pitino.