Dominant second half leads to victory for Minnesota

The Gophers outscored UT-Arlington 49-26 in the second half of Monday’s game.

Freshman guard Dupree McBrayer drives towards the basket at Williams Arena on Jan. 27.

Daily File Photo

Freshman guard Dupree McBrayer drives towards the basket at Williams Arena on Jan. 27.

Jack White

It was a tale of two halves for Minnesota in its game against the University of Texas-Arlington.

The Gophers trailed 41-35 and shot 30 percent in the first half, before shooting 53.3 percent in the second and winning 84-67 on Nov. 14 at Williams Arena.

“I’m happy for them, they haven’t felt good in this building in a while so I’m glad that they could, cause that’s a really good team,” said head coach Richard Pitino.

The second half started with a 22-1 run. Rookie forward Amir Coffey had 10 points during that stretch.

“[The run] felt good,” Pitino said. “We were guarding … It was a lot of fun just to see those guys take success.”

UT-Arlington shot 13-29 in the first half. The team went 9-27 in the second half. The Mavericks scored 41 points in the first half and 26 points in the second.

Minnesota also out-rebounded UT-Arlington 47-32.

Pitino said he told the team at halftime that they have to get stops and rebounds.

“The biggest thing we did was we rebounded the ball,” Pitino said. “We were warriors on the glass. That team was one of the best teams in the country at rebounding with everybody back.”

Center Reggie Lynch was the team’s leading scorer. Lynch scored 14 points and added three blocks and five rebounds.

“I feel like I’m a pretty efficient player,” Lynch said. “I’m happy with that, 16 minutes, I need to get that up, especially when it comes to conference games.”

Of Lynch’s 14 points, 10 came in the second half.

“In halftime, we talked about just playing free and attacking,” Lynch said. “It clearly worked ‘cause we went on a nice run.”

Guard Dupree McBrayer scored double-digit points for the second consecutive game. McBrayer scored 15 in the opening game against the University Louisiana Lafayette and this game he had 13.

“My confidence is too high right now,” McBrayer said. “I think I can make every shot.”

Coffey has scored double-digit points in his first two collegiate games.

McBrayer said Coffey needs to be a little more aggressive, though.

“I remember doing the same thing last year and making the same mistakes so I’m just here to help him,” McBrayer said.

Guard Nate Mason also had 15 points in the UL-Lafayette game and 13 against the Mavericks. Mason led the team in assists with seven.

Forward Eric Curry amassed 12 points off the bench. He tied for second on the team in rebounds with seven.

Forward Jordan Murphy only had two points in the first half. He would finish with 11 in the game. He was also the team’s leading rebounder with 12.

Pitino said having Curry and Lynch to help Murphy ‘totally changes everything.’

“When you have [Lynch] in there, when you have [Curry] in there, it frees up [Murphy] and then [Murphy] got some rebounds in the second half, so he was really, really good, but he’s still got a long way to go,” Pitino said.

The Gophers had three players score double-digit points who did not play last year.

Minnesota moves to 2-0 heading into its next game against Mount Union.

“We have a long way to go obviously, but this is not last year’s team and that’s very evident,” Pitino said. “It’s a totally different team with much more balance and depth.”