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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Murphy scores 35 as No. 15 Minnesota tops USC Update

Minnesota's Reggie Lynch (22) slam dunks the ball against USC Upstate during the second half Friday, Nov. 10, at Williams Arena. Harrison Barden / USA TODAY Sports1 / 3
Minnesota's Reggie Lynch (22) blocks a shot by USC Upstates Yeskin Walker-Williams (35) during the second half Friday, Nov. 10, at Williams Arena. Harrison Barden / USA TODAY Sports2 / 3
Minnesota guard Nate Mason (2) dives for the ball in front of USC Upstates guard Mike Cunningham (1) during the first half of their game Friday, Nov. 10, at Williams Arena. Harrison Barden / USA TODAY Sports3 / 3

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.

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