Gophers men’s basketball bring total wins to double digits

Reggie Lynch tied a career-high for points with 18 in Sunday’s victory.

Offensive players Reggie Lynch and Jordan Murphy attempt to score on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at Williams Arena.

Image by Chris Dang, Daily File Photo

Offensive players Reggie Lynch and Jordan Murphy attempt to score on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at Williams Arena.

by Jack White

While the Gophers were outsized once again against Northern Illinois Sunday, the team still outplayed the Huskies down low.

Center Reggie Lynch had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to help Minnesota (10-1) defeat Northern Illinois (4-5) 77-57 Sunday at Williams Arena.

“[Lynch] has got a long way to go, and he’s got to be coached,” said head coach Richard Pitino. “He just needs as many reps as he can, but I thought he was terrific today.”

Lynch scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half. He also added three blocks in the game.

Power forward Jordan Murphy also had a double-double. Murphy scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards in the win.

Murphy said it has been a really big turnaround since last season.

“Obviously, same with our team and our guys everything’s been different,” Murphy said. “It really makes me happy.”

The Gophers pulled away from the Huskies in the second half.

Minnesota went on a 6-0 run, followed by a 7-0 run, to take a 59-41 lead over the Huskies. Five different Minnesota players combined for points on the two runs.

Springs was the leading scorer off the bench for the Gophers with 10 points. He hit two 3-point field goals during the game.

“Springs, they all want to find him because he’s obviously a very good weapon,” Pitino said.

The Gophers dominated the Huskies on the boards. Minnesota tallied 48 rebounds to Northern Illinois’ 28.

Both teams shot less than 40 percent in the first half. Northern Illinois went 11-30 compared to Minnesota’s 9-30 in the first.

Minnesota improved on its shooting in the second half. The Gophers shot 53.6 percent from field-goal range in the second compared to the Huskies’ 37.9 percent.

The Gophers held the Huskies to 34 points in the second half and under 60 for the game.

Pitino said the team has a commitment to getting stops.

“I think we’ve got some individual really good defenders as well as some good team defense as well,” Pitino said.

Gophers win on Friday

The Gophers’ backcourt rose to the occasion in the team’s win over Georgia Southern.

Guards Dupree McBrayer, Nate Mason and Akeem Springs combined for 48 points to help Minnesota (10-1) rout Georgia Southern (4-5) 86-49 Friday at Williams Arena.

“Unselfishness,” Pitino said Friday. “Just sharing the ball, giving a good shot to get a great shot. I thought that were getting some good, quality looks.”

Minnesota had 23 assists in the game compared to 13 from Georgia Southern. Mason led the team in assists with nine.

The team came off of a performance where it won by six points against New Jersey Institute of Technology. Mason said the team showed a lot of maturity about responding from the game against NJIT.

“It was definitely a good response,” Mason said Friday.

Minnesota finished the weekend 2-0. The two victories were each by more than 20 points. Pitino said the players look like they have fun together.

“They celebrate each other’s success. They’re constantly looking to share the ball,” Pitino said Sunday.