For the Gophers’ aim of profitable the convention, Sunday’s 89-sixty seven win over Rutgers was much more necessary than their Wednesday loss to Miami.
And but for everybody else on this constructing, Sunday was a letdown, a sluggish matchup with odd timing.
Convention opening video games aren’t purported to really feel so torpid — but they’re additionally not supposed to start out on the third day of December with video games towards Florida Atlantic and Oral Roberts nonetheless on the schedule.
So there the Gophers have been with Rutgers (6-2, zero-1), a basketball group they hardly have dangerous blood or historical past with, enjoying a principally lackluster night contest.
Sunday’s recreation by no means actually felt unsure for the No. 12 Gophers (eight-1, 1-zero), who led the ultimate 34 minutes. However additionally they did not put their foot down and run away with a win towards an inferior opponent till the ultimate minutes.
Nate Mason, the workforce’s senior co-captain, did his greatest so as to add intrigue to each group’s first Massive Ten recreation.
His 26-level, seven-help efficiency helped overcome some in any other case bleak video games from a few of his most essential teammates.
Jordan Murphy, an rising candidate for participant of the yr, continued his streak of double-doubles in each recreation this season. However his 18 factors and sixteen rebounds got here on three of thirteen capturing and after three first half fouls restricted his enjoying time.
Amir Coffey (three of eight capturing) and Dupree McBrayer (three of eleven capturing in his return to the lineup after a proper leg an infection) slowed the Gophers in an already sluggish recreation.
However Mason and middle Reggie Lynch (sixteen factors, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks) did sufficient that the Gophers did not need to sweat out the primary recreation of convention play.
Whereas even Pitino admitted this schedule is a wierd one caused by the early Huge Ten event, it additionally lets the Gophers ease into convention play.
Rutgers completed lifeless final within the 14-workforce convention final season. The Gophers’ Tuesday foe — Nebraska — completed twelfth and misplaced their convention-opener to Michigan State Sunday by 29 factors. After that, nonconference play resumes and the Gophers do not see one other Huge Ten staff till 2018.