Gophers beat Mavericks

The team staged a second-half comeback against Nebraska-Omaha.

Gophers guard Carlos Morris plays defense at Williams Arena on Nov. 13, 2015.

Sam Harper, Daily File Photo

Gophers guard Carlos Morris plays defense at Williams Arena on Nov. 13, 2015.

Ryan Falk

Tension filled Williams Arena in the closing seconds of Friday’s game against the University of Nebraska-Omaha. 
 
Head coach Richard Pitino, who had already thrown both his suit jacket and tie off in frustration, watched as his team missed free throws that could have put the game out of reach for the Mavericks.
 
The Gophers weren’t able to secure the victory until there was almost no time left on the clock, when freshman forward Jordan Murphy rebounded an intentional free throw miss by the Mavericks and made a free throw to make the final score 93-90.
 
“That was a great win for us because [Nebraska-Omaha is] a very good team, obviously a very good offensive team,” Pitino said. 
 
Murphy finished the game with six rebounds in 16 minutes, including the big rebound at the end of the game.
 
“[Murphy] should have had at least 10 rebounds, I thought,” Pitino said. “I think he’s going to be a very good player.” 
 
The Gophers started off sloppy, with two quick turnovers that lead to easy layups on the other end for the Mavericks.
 
Senior guard Carlos Morris committed one of the turnovers and was sent to the bench for 11 minutes in the first half.
 
The guard didn’t see much of the bench for the rest of the game, scoring 17 points and adding six rebounds for the victory. 
 
Senior forward Joey King didn’t attempt a three-pointer in the first half but made all four of his shots from behind the arc in the second to finish with 18 points. 
 
“It was nice to find a little space in the second half, knock a few [baskets] down, along with [Morris],” King said. “In the second half, it was just a big-time team effort for everyone, and it was great to see.”
 
The Gophers’ offense wasn’t able to get much going early in the first half.
 
Minnesota got on the board three minutes in as sophomore center Bakary Konate made a pair of free throws to make the game 8-2 in favor of the Mavericks.
 
Konate scored a career-high 14 points in the game, giving the Gophers a scoring threat underneath the basket. 
 
The Gophers’ defense didn’t help Minnesota’s effort in the first half, allowing Nebraska-Omaha to shoot 56.2 percent.
 
Minnesota only trailed by one at the break, after clawing back before halftime behind sophomore guard Nate Mason’s nine first-half points.
 
Nebraska-Omaha senior forward Jake White, a Minnesota native, scored 23 points before fouling out late in the second half.
 
White made a three-pointer early in the second half, and later the Mavericks went on an 8-0 run to take a 53-50 lead.
 
The Gophers seniors helped the team take the lead near the end of the fourth quarter, however, with King and Morris combining for 26 second-half points.