Gophers rout Cornhuskers on Senior Night

Guard Nate Mason scored 25 points in the 88-73 win.

by Jack White

Guard Darin Haugh dribbled the ball one last time at Williams
Arena as time expired and the crowd roared in approval.

Minnesota defeated Nebraska on Senior Night 88-73, as the team’s
win streak increases to eight games.

“Obviously a great way to go out,” said head coach Richard Pitino.
“We haven’t had too many comfortable wins like that, so I thought – overall ­–
just proud of everybody.”

The Gophers pulled away from the Cornhuskers late in the first

Minnesota went on a 10-0 run late in the first to go up 36-25. Guard
Nate Mason and power forward Jordan Murphy scored five and four respectively
during that stint.

The duo of Mason and Murphy combined for 45 points in the

Mason scored 25 on 9-13 shooting. He also had four assists and
two steals.

Murphy earned his 11th double-double of the season, scoring 20
points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

“I just had to figure out what my real identity is on this team,”
Murphy said. “I’m a pretty good rebounder and that’s what gets the whole game
going for me.”

Forward Eric Curry shifted the momentum the Gophers’ way when he
scored as he was fouled. Curry pointed at a camera after the sequence, as
Minnesota led 40-27 late in the first half.

Guard Dupree McBrayer led the team in assists and 3-point field
goals. He had six assists and went 2-3 from beyond the arc. The guard also came
off the bench to score 16 points.

“[McBrayer] has been terrific,” Pitino said. “Made some shots,
played with great confidence.”

McBrayer scored seven consecutive points for the Gophers with 10:38
to go in the game. The guard drove down the middle of the lane and delivered a
one-handed dunk that got the Gophers bench on its feet in the second half.

Guard Amir Coffey found McBrayer, who delivered a no-look pass to
Murphy under the rim. Murphy slammed home the basket and Minnesota took a 79-58
lead with 6:27 left in the game.

Coffey finished with seven points and four assists.

McBrayer put the Gophers up by 20 with 2:37 left when he drove to
the rim and made a basket after the foul.

The Gophers had 21 assists in the game compared to the Cornhuskers’

“I think we’re all just clicking right now, lucky that we started
clicking in February and March,” Mason said.

Center Reggie Lynch finished with 11 points on 5-6 shooting. He
added six blocks, six rebounds and three steals, while only getting three fouls
in 28 minutes of play.

Guard Akeem Springs played limited minutes because of a bad back,
Pitino said. However, he still had three points in his final collegiate home game.

“[Springs] has been a great addition,” Mason said. “He wasn’t as
laid back as we thought he would be. He came in with the confidence.”

Minnesota heads to Madison to play Wisconsin for its final game
of the regular season. The team will go for win No. 24 after finishing last
season with just eight victories.

“There are a lot of guys that would have transferred.” Pitino
said. “We took ownership of our program and our guys deserve a lot of credit
for that.”