Murphy and Oturu overwhelm North Carolina A&T

The duo combined for 50 points in Friday’s 86-67 victory

by Nick Jungheim

After 10 days without a game, the Gophers returned to the court on Friday evening in front of their home fans.  The game was closer than the final score suggested, but ultimately the front court duo of senior Jordan Murphy and freshman Daniel Oturu proved too much for North Carolina A&T (4-8).  Minnesota (10-2) pulled away for a 86-67 victory, head coach Richard Pitino’s 100th win with the Gophers.

“I didn’t realize I had that, but it’s exciting that we found a way to get the win,” Pitino told the Gopher radio network.  “We found a way to kind of grind it out.  I thought we missed a lot of open shot again.  Murphy was dominant, Daniel Oturu was really good offensively.”

North Carolina A&T began the game strong, building a 10 point lead over the Gophers in the first half. However, a 16-0 run from Minnesota put them in front 31-25, a lead they never relinquished.  

Murphy lead all scorers with 30 points.  He recorded a double-double before halftime, and finished with 16 rebounds on the night, nine of which were offensive boards. Oturu also had his second consecutive double-double, with 20 points and 11 rebounds.  While sophomore Isaiah Washington only scored two points, he once again tallied double-digit assists, dishing out 10 with just three turnovers.

As well as the Gophers’ front court played on Friday, it could become even better soon.  Redshirt sophomore Eric Curry once again did not play Friday, still sidelined with a knee injury.  He’s expected to return soon, though his status for Minnesota’s next game remains unknown.

Minnesota will now have another long stretch between games.  They will have a break for the holidays and won’t be in action again until December 30 at Williams Arena against Mount St. Mary’s.

“Get healthy,” Pitino told the Gopher radio network regarding his top priority for the break.  “Get Eric [Curry] back in the fold hopefully.  And then get better. Obviously we have to prepare for Mount St. Mary’s but we have to prepare for ourselves to get better and get more solid in all aspects.”