Cowboys defeat Gophers

Freshman forward Jordan Murphy had 11 points as well as 12 boards Saturday.

Gophers forward Jordan Murphy moves the ball around the Clemson Tigers in Williams Arena on Nov. 11.

Daily File Photo

Gophers forward Jordan Murphy moves the ball around the Clemson Tigers in Williams Arena on Nov. 11.

Ryan Falk

The venue changed, but the Gophers still couldn’t exorcise their South Dakota demons.
 
Minnesota fell to 5-5 on the year after a 62-60 loss  to Oklahoma State in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Saturday night.
 
The Gophers shot poorly throughout the game and finished only 34.5 percent from the field.
 
“[The] ball was just not going in the basket,” head coach Richard Pitino told reporters after the game Saturday. “I thought we were getting good looks, but I thought we just
didn’t make shots when we needed to.” 
 
Minnesota struggled to get anything going on the offensive end for most of the game. The Gophers shot 18.2 percent from three-point range and were only 18-27 on free throws.
 
Freshman forward Jordan Murphy was the team’s best contributor for the third time in four games, notching a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Nate Mason added 14 points for the Gophers on 6-11 shooting.
 
The Gophers and Cowboys were nearly identical in the first half, each making 10 shots and seven free throws.
 
The Gophers were able to out-rebound the Cowboys on the offensive end and outscored Oklahoma State 8-2 on second chance points in the first half.
 
Murphy almost had his double-double by the half, leading Minnesota with nine points and 10 rebounds, including three offensive boards.
 
The two teams went back-and-forth for most of the half, but Minnesota led 30-28 at halftime thanks to a buzzer-beating three from freshman guard Ahmad 
Gilbert.
 
The Cowboys came back out and used a strong second-half performance to pull away from the Gophers. Oklahoma State outshot the Gophers from three-point range in the half, making 33.3 percent of their shots from deep.
 
The Gophers only made 9.1 percent on their three-point attempts in the second half.
 
“In the second half, they threw a punch,” Murphy told reporters after Saturday’s game. “I think we did a good job of coming back from that punch. They just made one more play than we did.”
 
Mason scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half.
 
The Gophers struggled to move the ball on offense all game with only five assists. The problem was especially glaring in the second half when the team only had one assist.
 
The Gophers were still able to come within two points of the Cowboys despite their poor offensive numbers, but they ultimately fell short.
 
“We’re going be a good team,” Pitino told reporters after the game. “I don’t know when it’s going to be, hopefully sooner rather than later, but we’re going to be a good team if we compete the way we did tonight.”