USCUP
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Jordan Murphy, No. 15 Minnesota overpower SC Upstate 92-77

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Jordan Murphy sure got his junior year off to a good start.

The Gophers are eager to see how much higher he can take his game.

Murphy scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, Reggie Lynch added 15 points and 10 rebounds and 15th-ranked Minnesota overpowered South Carolina Upstate in the season opener for a 92-77 victory on Friday night.

With two-handed slams and soft put-backs, Murphy gave the Gophers their antidote to a wing-heavy Spartans team that went a whopping 14 for 31 from 3-point range to tie for the second-most makes against Minnesota in history.

''He's got a great belief that he can score on the low block when you give it to him,'' coach Richard Pitino said, ''and he's making some really good moves.''

The Gophers owned a 54-35 rebounding advantage and outscored the Spartans 46-18 in the paint, pulling away right before halftime following a sluggish start. After Malik Moore swished a 3-pointer for the Spartans with 4:46 left in the first half to tie the game at 31, the Gophers took over. Following a 3-pointer by Amir Coffey and a free throw by Murphy, who went 9 for 15 from the line, Michael Hurt found Murphy with a slick high-low pass right before the buzzer for a layup and a 43-33 lead.

''Touches aren't really a big thing for me so if they find me, they find me. If they don't, I'm just going to be there to clean it all up at the end,'' Murphy said.

Lynch, a fifth-year senior, jokingly called Murphy his son. Then he labeled him his foreman.

''We feed off each other really well,'' Lynch said.

Moore, one of three returning starters for the Spartans this season, scored 22 points. Jure Span added 19 points on 5-for-6 shooting from 3-point range, where the Spartans at least gave themselves a chance in the first half.

''I was proud of the fact they didn't get down on themselves and they kept competing,'' Spartans coach Kyle Perry said. ''They kept fighting. They stayed together.''

The Gophers did, too, and Murphy was the glue.

''It's easy to be a leader when you're scoring the ball obviously, but he was terrific,'' Pitino said. ''He was the loudest guy on the team.''

WELCOMING WASHINGTON

Minnesota freshman Isaiah Washington, who as the Mr. New York Basketball award winner has given the Gophers one of their most heralded recruits in years, received a rousing ovation when he entered for the first time for Dupree McBrayer early in the first half. Washington often played next to the senior captain Nate Mason, who had 11 points, to give the Gophers two natural point guards on the floor.

Washington finished with just four points on 1-for-9 shooting, including 1 for 7 from 3-point range. He added five assists in 23 minutes. Pitino attributed the struggle to South Carolina Upstate's matchup zone defense that was a new look for most of the Gophers.

USC? NO, IT'S SCU

South Carolina Upstate, which finished 17-16 in 2016-17, was picked to finish fourth in the eight-team Atlantic Sun in the conference's preseason coaches' poll. The school formerly known as South Carolina Spartanburg became a provisional NCAA Division I member 10 years ago after appearing in six NCAA Division II tournaments between 1991 and 2006.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina Upstate: This was the debut as head coach Perry, who was an assistant for the past eight seasons before being promoted on Oct. 3 when Eddie Payne resigned at age 66 after 15 years running the program following a second ankle replacement surgery this summer.

Minnesota: The Gophers began their fifth season under Pitino with the program's highest hopes in 20 years since coming off the lone Final Four appearance that preceded the academic fraud scandal that took several seasons to recover from.

TIP-INS

South Carolina Upstate: The Spartans fell to 0-5 against teams from the Big Ten, since the transition.

Minnesota: The Gophers won their season opener for the 20th time in the last 21 years. They're 93-24 all-time in lid-lifters.

UP NEXT

South Carolina Upstate: The Spartans return home for a game on Sunday afternoon against Allen, an NAIA university. Then they face another power conference team, at Georgia on Tuesday night.

Minnesota: The Gophers play at Providence, Pitino's alma mater, on Monday night in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, the third annual eight-game slate of matchups between Big Ten and Big East teams. The first two editions produced 4-4 splits between the two conferences. Minnesota beat St. John's in the event last season, but Providence has made four straight NCAA Tournament apperances.

''I can't remember playing this tough of a road game so early, so our guys have got to wake up and be ready to roll,'' Pitino said.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Shot clock violation turnover on Minnesota 1.0
+ 1 Malik Moore made 2nd of 2 free throws 31.0
+ 1 Malik Moore made 2nd of 2 free throws 31.0
  Malik Moore missed 1st of 2 free throws 31.0
  Shooting foul on Amir Coffey 31.0
  Offensive rebound by Ramel Thompkins 34.0
  Mike Cunningham missed 2nd of 2 free throws 34.0
  Mike Cunningham missed 2nd of 2 free throws 34.0
  Mike Cunningham missed 1st of 2 free throws 34.0
  Shooting foul on Nate Mason 34.0
  Defensive rebound by South Carolina Upstate 36.0
Team Stats
Points 77 92
Field Goals 26-68 (38.2%) 32-70 (45.7%)
3-Pointers 14-31 (45.2%) 9-28 (32.1%)
Free Throws 11-16 (68.8%) 19-31 (61.3%)
Total Rebounds 35 54
Offensive 11 19
Defensive 21 30
Team 3 5
Assists 13 20
Steals 5 3
Blocks 2 6
Turnovers 12 12
Fouls 25 16
Technicals 0 0
away team logo
0
M. Moore F
23 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST
home team logo
3
J. Murphy F
35 PTS, 15 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo S.C. Upstate 0-1 334477
home team logo15 Minnesota 1-0434992
Team Stats
away team logoS.C. Upstate 0-1 75.6 PPG 37.2 RPG 14.0 APG
home team logo15 Minnesota 1-0 95.4 PPG 47.2 RPG 21.0 APG
Key Players
0
M. Moore F 15.0 PPG 5.6 RPG 2.8 APG 39.0 FG%
3
J. Murphy F 23.8 PPG 12.2 RPG 2.0 APG 65.7 FG%
Top Scorers
0
M. Moore F 23 PTS 6 REB 4 AST
3
J. Murphy F 35 PTS 15 REB 2 AST
38.2 FG% 45.7
45.2 3PT FG% 32.1
68.8 FT% 61.3
S.C. Upstate
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
M. Moore 33 23 6 4 0 2 4 2 6/12 2/3 9/12 2 4
J. Span 33 19 4 3 0 0 1 3 6/10 5/6 2/2 1 3
M. Cunningham 34 13 2 1 2 0 2 2 5/17 3/8 0/2 1 1
R. Thompkins 38 11 10 0 1 0 1 3 4/9 3/7 0/0 3 7
C. Smith 25 3 4 4 0 0 1 2 1/7 1/4 0/0 1 3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
M. Moore 33 23 6 4 0 2 4 2 6/12 2/3 9/12 2 4
J. Span 33 19 4 3 0 0 1 3 6/10 5/6 2/2 1 3
M. Cunningham 34 13 2 1 2 0 2 2 5/17 3/8 0/2 1 1
R. Thompkins 38 11 10 0 1 0 1 3 4/9 3/7 0/0 3 7
C. Smith 25 3 4 4 0 0 1 2 1/7 1/4 0/0 1 3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
D. Holmes 14 8 3 1 1 0 3 4 4/6 0/0 0/0 1 2
T. Booker 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
I. Anderson 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0/4 0/1 0/0 1 1
Y. Walker-Williams 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0
P. Welch 10 0 1 0 1 0 0 3 0/2 0/2 0/0 1 0
J. Schulte - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Diggs - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Hemming - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Kaplan - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Nelson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Tate - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 77 32 13 5 2 12 25 26/68 14/31 11/16 11 21
Minnesota
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Murphy 35 35 15 2 0 0 2 1 13/22 0/1 9/15 9 6
R. Lynch 26 15 10 0 0 4 1 1 6/8 0/0 3/6 5 5
N. Mason 35 11 5 4 2 0 1 2 3/10 2/7 3/4 0 5
D. McBrayer 21 8 4 3 1 0 2 3 3/7 2/5 0/0 0 4
A. Coffey 29 8 7 3 0 1 4 5 2/7 1/2 3/4 3 4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Murphy 35 35 15 2 0 0 2 1 13/22 0/1 9/15 9 6
R. Lynch 26 15 10 0 0 4 1 1 6/8 0/0 3/6 5 5
N. Mason 35 11 5 4 2 0 1 2 3/10 2/7 3/4 0 5
D. McBrayer 21 8 4 3 1 0 2 3 3/7 2/5 0/0 0 4
A. Coffey 29 8 7 3 0 1 4 5 2/7 1/2 3/4 3 4
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Harris 11 6 0 1 0 0 1 1 2/4 2/4 0/0 0 0
I. Washington 23 4 3 5 0 0 1 1 1/9 1/7 1/2 1 2
M. Hurt 10 3 1 2 0 1 0 1 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 1
D. Fitzgerald 10 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 1/2 0/1 0/0 1 3
G. Diedhiou - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Konate - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Rudrud - - - - - - - - - - - - -
H. Conroy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 92 49 20 3 6 12 16 32/70 9/28 19/31 19 30