Minneapolis – With a post-Thanksgiving tournament looming, all the Minnesota Golden Gophers had to do was avoid a letdown against an unfamiliar opponent. Jordan Murphy made sure that didn’t happen.
Murphy had his fifth straight double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds as No. 14 Minnesota defeated Alabama A&M 100-57 on Tuesday night.
“Just watching college basketball, we’ve seen a lot of upsets,” said Murphy, a junior forward and co-captain. “Anybody can beat anybody on any given night, so we keep that in the back of our minds.”
Four others scored in double figures for the Gophers (5-0). Davonte Fitzgerald had 13, Nate Mason scored 12 and Reggie Lynch and Jamir Harris each added 11. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino spread out the minutes, with his reserves on the court for nearly half of the game.
“I wanted to get the bench guys some minutes,” Pitino said. “Those were good minutes for them to play, not to mention we’ve got to travel (Wednesday) and we have to prepare for two games, so it was good to get rest (for the starters) as well.”
Minnesota heads to New York City for the weekend, with games against UMass and No. 25 Alabama on tap. When they return home, they’ll face No. 11 Miami and open Big Ten play against Rutgers before playing true road games at Nebraska and Arkansas. With those tough tests around the corner, Tuesday’s game could not have worked out better for the Gophers.
“Our starting five really has a good flow going out there so it’s really our job to come in and not have any downfalls and just weather the storm to give these guys the rest they need,” said Fitzgerald, a reserve forward.
Mohamed Sherif led the Bulldogs (0-4) with 10 points.
The Bulldogs went the first 11 minutes without a two-point field goal, preferring outside shots due to the Gophers’ size advantage. A&M’s first four baskets came from 3-point range, but Minnesota built a 26-12 lead thanks to 12 quick points from Mason and the rout was on.
“I want our starters playing crisp minutes together, and I saw that,” Pitino said. “I thought they were all really good.”
No. 23 UCLA 72, Wisconsin 70: Aaron Holiday got a scooping layup to drop just before the final buzzer, giving UCLA a victory in the third-place game of the Hall of Fame Classic.
The Bruins (4-1) trailed 65-59 with about 4 minutes left, but Holiday knocked down two 3-pointers and converted two free throws to spur the comeback. Wisconsin tied it 70-all when Khalil Iverson made the second of two foul shots with 31.5 seconds left, but that was enough time for UCLA.
Holiday got the ball at the top of the key, briefly lost control, then roared down the right side of the lane past Badgers star Ethan Happ and scooped up the winning basket.
Happ had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead Wisconsin (2-3), which has lost three straight games, all to ranked teams. Iverson, D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison had 14 points apiece.
No. 16 Texas A&M 98, Penn State 87: Robert Williams had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Texas A&M in the championship game of the Progressive Legends Classic at Barclays Center in New York.
Duane Wilson led the Aggies (4-0) with 22 points while Tyler Davis chipped in 15, Admon Gilder had 14 and Tonny Torcha-Morelos finished with 11.
Despite getting a career-high 31 points from Tony Carr, Penn State (5-1) lost its first game of the season. Lamar Stevens added 25 points for Penn State.
(At) Rutgers 83, Bryant 54: Corey Sanders responded to his coach calling out his poor practice habits with 18 points and five assists and his backcourt mate Geo Baker had a career-high 29 to lead Rutgers. Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell benched Sanders against Coppin State, saying it was for his star guard’s lack of effort in practice.
Sanders hit a jumper, stole a pass and turned it into a highlight-reel dunk before a fast break, alley-oop layup in a 34-second showcase of athleticism. The 6-0 run made it 24-17 with 10:12 left in the first half before Rutgers (5-0) took a 47-34 into the break.
Baker displayed his outside shooting ability, hitting 7 of 10 shots from 3-point range.
Bryant (0-4) was led by Ikenna Ndugba, who had 15 points, four assist and three steals.
Bellarmine 65, (at) Wayne State 50: Ronald Booth and Chuck Key each scored 15 for Wayne State (1-2). Bellarmine is 4-0.
Michigan State 97, (at) Detroit Mercy 60: Branndais Agee and Mardrekia Cook each scored 17 and Jenna Allen 16 for Michigan State (4-0). Brianne Cohen scored 14 for Detroit Mercy (0-3).
(At) Wayne State 101, Wright State Lake 46: Sadia Johnson scored 16 and Nastassia Chambers 15 for Wayne State (4-1). Wright State Lake is 1-7.