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Washington helps Minnesota pass by pesky North Florida 80-71

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As one of the most heralded high school recruits Minnesota has brought in under head coach Richard Pitino, Isaiah Washington has been a work in progress as a college point guard.

This was one of those games where the sophomore's potential was fulfilled.

Jordan Murphy had 20 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, Washington pitched in 14 points and 13 assists and Minnesota outlasted North Florida 80-71 on Tuesday night.

''That's Isaiah. Some days he's good. Some days he's not. He's got to find a way to get consistent with every little thing that he does. He's got the talent. But it's just a matter of his habits continuing to improve,'' said Pitino, who benched Washington for the second half on Saturday afternoon against Arkansas State after he went 0 for 4 from the floor with one turnover in six minutes.

Amir Coffey added 18 points and five rebounds and Daniel Oturu had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers (9-2), who missed 14 of their 15 attempts from 3-point range and consequently never held a double-digit lead.

The Ospreys (4-6) gave them just about all they could handle, with Garrett Sams (13 points), Wajid Aminu (10 points), Noah Horchler (nine points, 10 rebounds) and Trip Day (nine points, nine rebounds) all part of a balanced performance following a nine-day break between games for final exams.

''I think we underestimated them a tiny bit,'' said Murphy, who had six of his team's 10 turnovers.

Washington fed Oturu for a dunk and a 60-52 lead with 8:57 left, but that was one of several points in the game the Ospreys refused to let the Gophers pull away. Aminu beat Murphy on a fast break for an uncontested layup, cutting the lead to 62-59 about 1 1/2 minutes later. The Ospreys were within 65-64, but Washington's spin dribble into the paint and pullup jumper after a fake pass to his left gave the Gophers a 67-64 edge with 4:06 remaining and enough momentum to finish it off.

''We had a good bond. Everybody was just in the right spots,'' Washington said. ''I got them the ball, and we had a good game.''

Minnesota held a 52-35 rebounding edge and drew 39 foul shots, sinking 27. That helped make up for freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur's 0-for-10 shooting performance, including eight misfires from 3-point range.

The Ospreys didn't play anybody taller than 6-foot-7, and the Gophers had five players on the court at that height or more. The muscle and size of Murphy, the Big Ten's leading rebounder, and Oturu in the lane was ultimately what gave the Gophers the edge. Washington's touch and vision from the perimeter, though, made all that production possible.

The sophomore point guard, who has begun to thrive this season in his role off the bench with Coffey running the offense for the starting five, had eight of his assists by halftime.

''He has really great court vision, and he really knows how to get in the paint,'' Murphy said. ''So, when you combine those two, it's a great equation to have.''

MISSING MCBRAYER

The Gophers played without senior guard Dupree McBrayer, whose mother, Tayra McFarlane, died of cancer on Dec. 3. He'd played in two games since then but went home to New York City for her funeral, which several Gophers players and coaches were scheduled to attend on Wednesday. Pitino, who helped raise more than $15,000 for McBrayer's family, traded text messages with McBrayer before the game. McBrayer told the coach he was having a hard time at the wake.

''We've got to make sure that as a team that support doesn't go away,'' Pitino said.

NOT THIS TIME

The Ospreys fell to 2-13 against current members of the Big Ten, with wins against Purdue in 2014 and Illinois in 2015. They lost at Minnesota in 2012.

BIG PICTURE

North Florida: As the only team in the nation that returned all five starters from last season with none of them seniors, the Ospreys have the confidence and experience to compete with power-conference opponents like Minnesota. Head coach Matthew Driscoll, who took over in 2009 when the program became a full-fledged Division I member, has already taken his team to Dayton, Penn State and Florida, with road trips to Florida State and Auburn remaining later this month.

Minnesota: Going into their nine-day break from games for final exams, the Gophers looked ready for, well, a break. They'll welcome McBrayer back into the mix, with Brock Stull producing only two points in 19 minutes from his place in the starting lineup. Center Eric Curry is also slated to make his season debut, after a setback this fall in his recovery from a knee injury that kept him out of the entire 2017-18 season.

UP NEXT

North Florida: Plays at Florida International on Thursday.

Minnesota: Hosts North Carolina A&T on Dec. 21.

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Key Players
N. Horchler
J. Murphy
28.7 Min. Per Game 28.7
13.3 Pts. Per Game 13.3
3.2 Ast. Per Game 3.2
11.7 Reb. Per Game 11.7
55.8 Field Goal % 47.3
20.0 Three Point % 22.2
44.4 Free Throw % 66.7
+ 1 Amir Coffey made 2nd of 2 free throws 23.0
+ 1 Amir Coffey made 1st of 2 free throws 23.0
  Personal foul on Noah Horchler 23.0
  Defensive rebound by Amir Coffey 23.0
  JT Escobar missed layup 25.0
+ 1 Amir Coffey made 2nd of 2 free throws 31.0
+ 1 Amir Coffey made 1st of 2 free throws 31.0
  Personal foul on Ezekiel Balogun 31.0
+ 3 Garrett Sams made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ivan Gandia-Rosa 33.0
+ 1 Gabe Kalscheur made 2nd of 2 free throws 41.0
+ 1 Gabe Kalscheur made 1st of 2 free throws 41.0
Team Stats
Points 71 80
Field Goals 26-63 (41.3%) 26-67 (38.8%)
3-Pointers 8-22 (36.4%) 1-15 (6.7%)
Free Throws 11-12 (91.7%) 27-39 (69.2%)
Total Rebounds 35 52
Offensive 7 22
Defensive 24 27
Team 4 3
Assists 16 16
Steals 3 7
Blocks 9 4
Turnovers 13 10
Fouls 24 12
Technicals 0 0
13 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST
20 PTS, 18 REB
12T
away team logo North Florida 4-6 343771
home team logo Minnesota 9-2 354580
Team Stats
away team logo North Florida 4-6 75.3 PPG 40.9 RPG 15.8 APG
home team logo Minnesota 9-2 70.6 PPG 40.2 RPG 14.5 APG
Key Players
11
G. Sams G 12.5 PPG 4.9 RPG 2.5 APG 38.9 FG%
3
J. Murphy F 14.4 PPG 11.0 RPG 2.6 APG 48.7 FG%
Top Scorers
G. Sams G 13 PTS 3 REB 3 AST
J. Murphy F 20 PTS 18 REB 0 AST
41.3 FG% 38.8
36.4 3PT FG% 6.7
91.7 FT% 69.2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Sams 13 3 3 3/6 1/3 6/6 4 32 0 0 2 1 2
W. Aminu 10 3 2 4/11 0/1 2/2 5 26 1 7 2 1 2
N. Horchler 9 10 0 4/13 0/3 1/2 5 28 1 1 2 3 7
I. Gandia-Rosa 8 1 6 3/7 2/3 0/0 1 31 0 0 1 0 1
J. Escobar 7 3 2 3/10 1/5 0/0 2 29 0 0 2 0 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Sams 13 3 3 3/6 1/3 6/6 4 32 0 0 2 1 2
W. Aminu 10 3 2 4/11 0/1 2/2 5 26 1 7 2 1 2
N. Horchler 9 10 0 4/13 0/3 1/2 5 28 1 1 2 3 7
I. Gandia-Rosa 8 1 6 3/7 2/3 0/0 1 31 0 0 1 0 1
J. Escobar 7 3 2 3/10 1/5 0/0 2 29 0 0 2 0 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Day 9 9 0 4/9 1/3 0/0 3 19 0 1 0 1 8
E. Balogun 5 1 0 2/3 1/1 0/0 2 6 1 0 2 1 0
B. Coffey II 5 0 1 1/1 1/1 2/2 1 9 0 0 1 0 0
C. Hendricksen 3 1 2 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 10 0 0 1 0 1
R. Burkhardt 2 0 0 1/2 0/1 0/0 1 10 0 0 0 0 0
E. Lambright - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Schach - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. James - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Copeland - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 71 31 16 26/63 8/22 11/12 24 200 3 9 13 7 24
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Murphy 20 18 0 7/13 0/0 6/9 0 34 1 4 6 7 11
A. Coffey 18 6 3 6/15 1/5 5/8 1 36 1 0 1 2 4
D. Oturu 13 11 0 5/10 0/0 3/4 3 26 2 0 0 7 4
G. Kalscheur 3 1 0 0/10 0/8 3/4 2 28 0 0 3 0 1
B. Stull 2 4 0 1/3 0/0 0/0 1 19 0 0 0 1 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Murphy 20 18 0 7/13 0/0 6/9 0 34 1 4 6 7 11
A. Coffey 18 6 3 6/15 1/5 5/8 1 36 1 0 1 2 4
D. Oturu 13 11 0 5/10 0/0 3/4 3 26 2 0 0 7 4
G. Kalscheur 3 1 0 0/10 0/8 3/4 2 28 0 0 3 0 1
B. Stull 2 4 0 1/3 0/0 0/0 1 19 0 0 0 1 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
I. Washington 14 3 13 4/8 0/2 6/8 1 30 1 0 0 0 3
M. Hurt 5 3 0 2/3 0/0 1/2 1 12 1 0 0 3 0
J. Omersa 3 0 0 1/2 0/0 1/2 0 6 0 0 0 0 0
M. Stockman 2 3 0 0/3 0/0 2/2 3 9 1 0 0 2 1
J. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. McBrayer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Curry - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Rudrud - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Willis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
H. Conroy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Carr - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 80 49 16 26/67 1/15 27/39 12 200 7 4 10 22 27