COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Murphy scores 35 as No. 15 Minnesota tops USC Update
MINNEAPOLIS—Despite a 3-point barrage from USC Upstate on Friday night, Nov. 10, Minnesota got its highly-anticipated college basketball season off to a good start.
Forward Jordan Murphy scored a game-high 35 points and center Reggie Lynch added 15 as the 15th-ranked Golden Gophers overpowered the smaller Spartans inside for a 92-77 non-conference win at Williams Arena.
Murphy and Lynch finished with double-doubles, with Murphy pulling down 15 boards and Lynch grabbing 10, as Minnesota used its advantages in height and heft. It finished with a 54-35 rebounding margin against an opponent that started no one taller than 6-foot-7, 202-pound Ramel Thompkins.
The 6-6, 250-pound Murphy and 6-10, 265-pound Lynch were simply too much to handle for USC Upstate, although it tried gamely by pouring in one 3-pointer after another. The Spartans canned 14 for the night, including four in the first 5 minutes, 40 seconds, as they established a 14-10 lead.
Malik Moore fired in 23 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists for USC Upstate, while Jure Span led the long-distance outburst by hitting 5 of 6 tries and scoring 19 points. Guard Mike Cunningham contributed 13, although he hit just 5 of 17 field goal attempts, and Thompkins finished with 11 points plus 10 rebounds.
Point guard Nate Mason scored 11 points for the Golden Gophers despite a rough shooting night, as he made only 3 of 10 tries. Mason chipped in five rebounds and four assists.
The Spartans were tied 31-31 late in the first half before Minnesota closed with a 12-2 run. Murphy's layup with a second left sent the Golden Gophers into the break with a 10-point advantage.
NOTES: Minnesota's preseason ranking is its first to start a season since 2009-10, when it was 25th. It's the Golden Gophers' highest ranking to begin a season since 1993-94, when it was rated 10th. ... USC Upstate G Mike Cunningham, the team's leading returning scorer and assist man from last season, was a unanimous choice to the preseason All-Atlantic Sun Conference team. ... Minnesota beefed up its program for next season by signing F Jarvis Omersa and C Daniel Oturu on Wednesday during the early signing period. Some observers rate it a top 25 class nationally.