Murphy Leads Gophers to Comfy Win over Providence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Jordan Murphy had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 14 Minnesota outlasted Providence 86-74 on Monday night.
Murphy scored 15 points in the second half, leading the Gophers back from a three-point halftime deficit. Nate Mason added 17 points and Amir Coffey finished with 15.
The Gophers tied it up 55-55 in the second half, then used a 23-11 run to take control.
Minnesota had just six assists on 30 made baskets, but they made up for it by dominating on the inside. The Gophers outscored Providence 40-26 in the paint and held a 38-31 rebounding edge.
Kyron Cartwright and Nate Watson led the Friars with 12 points apiece.
The Friars had no answer for Murphy, who caught the ball deep and was able to weave his way to the rim at will in the second half.
Minnesota's inside play helped mask a difficult shooting night from the outside. The Gophers were 5 of 17 from the 3-point line for the game, but four of those makes came in the second half.
Providence also had 13 turnovers that led to 17 Minnesota points.
The Golden Gophers started fast, quickly taking 12-2 lead. But the Friars stayed close, going 5 for 9 from the 3-point line and getting 16 points from their reserves in the first half.
Minnesota was cold from beyond the arc, going just 1 for 10 from in the opening 20 minutes. Its offense stalled because of it, leading to a stretch of more than five minutes without a field goal.
Providence took advantage and closed the half on an 11-6 run, taking a 39-36 lead into halftime.
Minnesota: The Gophers showed some mental toughness in the second half, trusting their offensive sets and executing much better down the stretch.
Providence: The Friars showed that they score with a much bigger team. How much they can sustain it over the course of game is the question going forward.
The Providence student section heckled Minnesota coach Richard Pitino with "Who's your daddy?" chants several times during the game. Pitino's father, Rick Pitino, was fired by the University of Louisville after 16 seasons last month after the school acknowledged it was being investigated in the federal probe.
The younger Pitino is a 2005 Providence graduate and served as an assistant at Louisville under his father. Monday was his first game as a head coach against his alma mater. He faced the Friars as an assistant coach five times, going 3-2 (Northeastern 0-1, Louisville 3-1).
Minnesota: Play their next three games at home, beginning Wednesday against Niagara.