This evening's 89-67 win was the eighth all-time meeting between Minnesota and Rutgers, with the Gophers now holding a 7-1 lead in the series (Minnesota leads 4-0 at Williams Arena). No. 12/12 Minnesota improved to 8-1 (1-0 Big Ten) on the season, while Rutgers fell to 6-2 (0-1 B1G). Head coach Richard Pitino is 5-1 against the Scarlet Knights, and 31-49 against Big Ten foes, while Minnesota now stands at 1,458-1,083 all-time and 748-811 versus teams from the B1G (not counting vacated games). Coach Pitino's fifth-year record at Minnesota is 83-62, and his six-year career mark is 101-76.
Coach Pitino utilized a starting lineup of seniors Nate Mason and Reggie Lynch, juniors Jordan Murphy and Dupree McBrayer, and sophomore Amir Coffey. Mason made his team-leading 78th career start (72nd consecutive) in Maroon and Gold, while Murphy was in the starting lineup for the 63rd consecutive time and McBrayer made his 43rd start after missing the Miami game with a right leg infection. Lynch, who transferred from Illinois State, has now started 42 games for the Gophers (92 career), while Coffey made his 42nd career start.
GOPHERS OPEN BIG TEN
Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak in B1G openers, winning its first since a 76-63 victory against Michigan State on Dec. 31, 2012. Last season, the Gophers dropped a 75-74 overtime decision versus the Spartans, and had previously lost conference-opening tilts at Ohio State during 2015-16, at Purdue during 2014-15, and at home versus Michigan during 2013-14. Since 1980-81, the Gophers are 12-20 in Big Ten openers (excluding vacated seasons).
MURPH’S STREAK CONTINUES
Jordan Murphy finished with 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for his ninth-straight double-double to start the season and the 30th of his career. Murphy, who leads the nation in double-doubles this season, made just 3-of-13 field goals but went 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Murphy has averages of 21.0 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, while making 66-of-114 (.579) field goals this season.
MASON MOVING UP ALL-TIME SCORING CHART
Nate Mason paced all scorers with a season-high 26 points to give him 1,351 for his career, which ranks 13th all-time at Minnesota. This evening, he moved past Lou Hudson (1,329 points during 1964-66), Ron Johnson (1,335 points during 1958-60), and Tom Kondla (1,350 points during 1966-68), and Mason is now just 41 points shy of cracking Minnesota’s Top 10. Mason, a reigning First Team All-B1G guard, made 8-of-13 field goals (4-of-7 treys), while also tying a team-high with seven assists (one turnover). He is averaging 15.2 points and 4.6 assists with just 12 turnovers.
COFFEY THROWS DIMES
Amir Coffey tied for game honors with Nate Mason by dishing out seven assists, just two off his career-high, while finishing with 11 points and three rebounds. Coffey also grabbed five rebounds and added two assists and two steals for the Gophers. Coffey, who now has 29 career double-figure scoring games (four straight), is averaging 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists, while making 13-of-30 (.433) three-pointers.
THE Reggie Lynch BLOCK COMPANY
Reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Lynch flirted had another strong game at both ends of the court. Lynch finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. It is his seventh game this season with four or more blocked shots. Lynch is averaging 11.9 points and 8.6 rebounds, while leading the nation with 4.8 blocked shots (43 total) per game this season.
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES AND NUMBERS
Minnesota was credited with 23 assists on 28 field goals … the Gophers made 27-of-35 (.771) free throws, while Rutgers attempted just 18 foul shots (made 14) … the Gophers had a 19-8 advantage on points off turnovers … tonight’s attendance was 11,097, and the Gophers are averaging 11,410 per game through six games … Lynch moved past Jeff Hagen (2002-05) and is now tied with Michael Bauer (2000-04) for sixth on the Gophers’ all-time blocked shots list with 157.
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