Murphy, Minnesota end 4-game skid with win vs. Indiana

February 16, 2019 05:34 PM

With Jordan Murphy muscling his way to 23 points and 11 rebounds and Gabe Kalscheur going 6-for-8 from 3-point range, Minnesota stopped a four-game losing streak with an 84-63 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Click the video box on this page to watch the complete postgame press conference with Richard Pitino, Daniel Oturu and Gabe Kalscheur
    
Amir Coffey added 18 points for the Gophers (17-9, 7-8), who built a lead as big as 30 points during a smooth second half that had an intrasquad scrimmage vibe as the Hoosiers stumbled to their 10th loss in their last 11 games. The worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten, Minnesota made a season-high 12 shots in 22 attempts from long range to post its largest winning margin in 33 Big Ten games since a 89-67 victory over Rutgers on Dec. 3, 2017.
    
Kalscheur finished with 20 points and teamed with Coffey to stifle Indiana star Romeo Langford to a quiet 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting. Juwan Morgan led the Hoosiers (13-12, 4-10) with 14 points and eight rebounds and Al Durham added 12 points, but they finished a season-worst 2-for-17 from 3-point range.
    
Coming off a one-point loss at Nebraska three days ago that coach Richard Pitino called the toughest of his six-year tenure at Minnesota in light of two disputed foul calls in the closing seconds, the Gophers badly needed a dominant performance like this to relieve some tension and steer their NCAA Tournament bid back on track. They still have a lot of work to do to get in, but resume-building opportunities remain with three of the conference's top four teams left on the regular-season schedule.
    
Murphy, who had 17 points in the first half and posted his 18th double-double of the season, went to work right away on attacking the middle with his powerful and determined back-to-the-basket drives. The Hoosiers piled up the personal fouls, Murphy kept going back to the free-throw line and the Gophers were in control. The 6-foot-7 senior put his exclamation point on the performance with an 180-degree spin move on Justin Smith for an emphatic dunk that gave the Gophers a 61-40 lead.
    
RACE RETURNS
    
Indiana redshirt freshman forward Race Thompson returned to action with two points and five rebounds in seven minutes, just his second appearance of the season after sitting out with a concussion. He's a native of Minnesota, the son of former Gophers football star Darrell Thompson.
    
SATURDAY BANKING HOURS
    
Not only did the Gophers enter the weekend ranked last in the conference in 3-point shooting (31.0), they were 314th in the country out of 353 NCAA Division I teams, ahead of only three major-conference schools: Wake Forest, Texas A&M and Georgia Tech. They gave themselves a rare early boost from behind the arc in whatever-it-takes fashion, making their first four attempts.
    
Oturu beat the shot clock with an off-balance heave that rimmed out and back in from the right wing in the opening minutes, the first try of the freshman center's college career. Coffey banked in a 3-pointer a little later, as did Kalscheur for a 21-11 lead that the Gophers were able to keep in double digits for the majority of the remainder of the afternoon.
    
BIG PICTURE
    
Indiana: The Hoosiers saw their NCAA Tournament hopes further deflated with this lifeless performance. Their victories over Marquette, Louisville and Michigan State might give them a long-shot chance to get in with a winning streak that takes them into March, but there's no sign at this point that they're on the cusp of a surge.
    
Minnesota: The Gophers finally produced a game with their three best players, Murphy, Coffey and Kalscheur, all in a groove. Coffey had seven assists and only one turnover, and Kalscheur went 7-for-10 from the floor.
    
UP NEXT
    
Indiana: Hosts No. 12 Purdue on Tuesday night. The Hoosiers lost 70-55 to the rival Boilermakers on the road on Jan. 19.
    
Minnesota: Stays home to face No. 6 Michigan on Thursday night. The Gophers lost 59-57 on the road to the Wolverines on Jan. 22 on a buzzer-beating shot.
 

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Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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