Gophers win second in a row

Minnesota defeated Rutgers on Tuesday at Williams Arena for its second Big Ten victory.

Minnesota guard Kevin Dorsey pushes towards the net at Williams Arena on Tuesday night where the Gophers defeated Rutgers 83-61.

Liam James Doyle

Minnesota guard Kevin Dorsey pushes towards the net at Williams Arena on Tuesday night where the Gophers defeated Rutgers 83-61.

Ryan Falk

For the first time since November, the Gophers have a winning streak.
 
 
Minnesota won its second consecutive game Tuesday night at Williams Arena, defeating Rutgers 83-61 with an offensive surge in the second half.
 
 
The Gophers led 32-31 at halftime but scored 51 points after the break. The team’s 22-point victory is its biggest margin of victory this season.
 
 
“We settled down in the second half,” head coach Richard Pitino said. “Happy with the win; it’s a Big Ten win. [I] liked the way we bounced back in the second half.”
 
 
Five Minnesota players scored more than 10 points in the victory, including three freshmen. Freshman forward Jordan Murphy led the team in points and rebounds with 19 and 14, respectively. Freshman guard Kevin Dorsey scored 13 points and freshman guard Dupree McBrayer had 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
 
 
The Gophers, coming off their upset victory over Maryland Thursday night, came out flat in the first half. The team attempted 10 3-pointers before halftime but made only two. 
 
 
“We [didn’t] have [any] energy really,” McBrayer said. “That was one of the things we were worried about before the game started knowing this is a winnable game for us.
 
 
We didn’t want to come out here and lay an egg and lose this game. … [We needed] to come up with some energy in the second half, [and] that’s just what we did.”
 
 
The team made up for its poor first-half 3-point shooting on defense, recording five steals in the first half and scoring 10 points off of turnovers.
 
 
The Gophers were also to pick up their tempo on offense after getting turnovers and scored eight fast break points in the first half.
 
 
“We got it going fast break-wise,” Murphy said. “[Dorsey] was great, [McBrayer] was great on the fast break, even [sophomore guard Nate Mason] was tremendous on getting the fast break and getting out and pushing. We really put a lot of pressure on their defense.” 
 
 
The Gophers were able to get their offense rolling in the second half, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 23-9 in the first 10 minutes after halftime.
 
 
Murphy scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half and Minnesota was able to take advantage of Rutgers inside.
 
 
The Gophers finished with 40 points in the paint on Tuesday, while the Scarlet Knights had only 28.
 
 
Minnesota also outrebounded Rutgers 45-35 in the game and was never in trouble of losing its lead for most of the second half.
 
 
The team even emptied its bench at the end of the game, and sophomore guard Mike Lukashewich was able to score his first career points.
 
 
“I like the progress of [our] guys moving forward,” Pitino said. “I think they’re getting better. I think we’re playing our best basketball.”