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Coffey scores 29 as Gophers top Rutgers 88-70

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota's defense sparked its fast-break offense in time for the Gophers to pull away from Rutgers on Saturday.

Amir Coffey scored 29 points to lead a balanced scoring attack as Minnesota defeated Rutgers 88-70.

Jordan Murphy scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Dupree McBrayer scored 15 points and added 10 assists, and freshman Gabe Kalscheur scored 11 points for Minnesota (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten), who put the game away with a 14-1 run midway through the second half.

Myles Johnson scored a career-high 13 and Geo Baker also scored 13 points for the Scarlet Knights (8-7, 1-4), who were playing without their leading scorer and rebounder, Eugene Omoruyi, who was out with a knee injury.

''We're down a lot of players, but no excuse - you've still got to take away the strength of another team,'' Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. ''Their two biggest strengths were getting to the free throw line and transition, and we didn't do a great job taking away either.''

Rutgers pulled to within five at multiple points in the second half but the Gophers finally pulled away with a 14-1 run that started when backup guard Isaiah Washington banked in a 3-pointer.

Minnesota's defense then set up a number of fast-break opportunities that the Gophers cashed in on the other end. McBrayer rebounded a Rutgers miss and sprung Coffey for a coast-to-coast dunk. On the next possession, Murphy and center Daniel Oturu each blocked shots before Murphy fed the ball ahead to Washington for a transition layup.

Finally, on the next possession, after Murphy blocked another shot, Coffey grabbed the rebound and took it straight to the hoop on the other end, drawing a foul and making both free throws.

''Murphy and Dan were protecting the rim pretty well,'' Coffey said. ''Just protecting the rim like that lets us get out in transition, and we're always pretty good when we're working that.''

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said that stretch typifies how he wants his team to play.

''The key is always to defend, rebound, and then run,'' Pitino said. ''That's always been our mentality, and the better we get defensively, it allows us to get out on the break.''

After scoring just eight points in the first half, Coffey exploded for nine in the first six minutes of the second half. He finished the day 10-for-14 from the field - including 9-for-10 from inside the 3-point line - and made 8 of 10 free throws. Coffey is averaging 23.4 points in Minnesota's five conference games this year.

''Amir's playing like one of the better players in the league right now,'' Pitino said. ''I always expected this year to be a breakout year for him and he's certainly making it that.''

But Rutgers stayed in the game thanks in large part to the play of their big men. Johnson, a 6-foot-10 freshman, and 6-9 Shaq Carter went toe-to-toe with Murphy, the nation's second-leading rebounder at 12.0 boards per game. Johnson pulled down eight rebounds while Carter added eight points and six boards, part of the 40 points Rutgers scored in the paint.

''We're definitely down a couple guys,'' Johnson said. ''But the next man up is going to be ready to step up, and I'm trying to do my best to step up.''

In the end, it wasn't enough to slow Minnesota in the second half when the Golden Gophers took control on both ends of the court.

''No matter what happened down the stretch, even if they made a couple of shots we were able to answer back and get a few stops and get a few rebounds we really needed,'' Murphy said.

BIG PICTURE

Rugters: The Scarlet Knights had a tough task in trying to build off the momentum of their upset victory over Ohio State on Wednesday. Omoruyi dislocated his left kneecap in that game, and his productivity and veteran presence were missed on Saturday. To make matters worse, the Scarlet Knights also lost freshman guard Caleb McConnell to an apparent leg injury in the first half.

Minnesota: The Gophers were looking to improve on their dismal showing at the line in their loss to Maryland on Tuesday, when they made just 9 of 23 free throws. On Saturday they went 20-for-25 to at least temporarily put those concerns to rest. Meanwhile, Murphy passed Draymond Green to become the fourth-leading rebounder in Big Ten history.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: at Purdue on Tuesday

Minnesota: at Illinois on Wednesday

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Key Players
G. Baker
J. Murphy
29.9 Min. Per Game 29.9
14.5 Pts. Per Game 14.5
2.9 Ast. Per Game 2.9
12.0 Reb. Per Game 12.0
36.3 Field Goal % 47.9
35.4 Three Point % 23.1
68.6 Free Throw % 67.7
+ 2 Peter Kiss made tip-in 26.0
  Offensive rebound by Peter Kiss 28.0
  Shaq Carter missed hook shot 30.0
  Defensive rebound by Shaq Carter 44.0
  Brady Rudrud missed 3-pt. jump shot 46.0
  Defensive rebound by Minnesota 55.0
  Ron Harper Jr. missed 2nd of 2 free throws 56.0
+ 1 Ron Harper Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 56.0
  Shooting foul on Matz Stockman 56.0
  Offensive rebound by Myles Johnson 57.0
  Ron Harper Jr. missed jump shot 59.0
Team Stats
Points 70 88
Field Goals 28-67 (41.8%) 29-58 (50.0%)
3-Pointers 4-18 (22.2%) 10-24 (41.7%)
Free Throws 10-16 (62.5%) 20-25 (80.0%)
Total Rebounds 38 36
Offensive 13 7
Defensive 22 25
Team 3 4
Assists 12 24
Steals 3 7
Blocks 1 5
Turnovers 11 8
Fouls 18 15
Technicals 0 0
13 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST
29 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST
12T
away team logo Rutgers 8-7 323870
home team logo Minnesota 13-3 394988
Team Stats
away team logo Rutgers 8-7 67.4 PPG 42.2 RPG 12.3 APG
home team logo Minnesota 13-3 74.3 PPG 42.5 RPG 15.4 APG
Key Players
15
M. Johnson C 4.1 PPG 5.2 RPG 1.1 APG 52.5 FG%
5
A. Coffey G 15.7 PPG 3.0 RPG 3.0 APG 43.5 FG%
Top Scorers
M. Johnson C 13 PTS 8 REB 2 AST
A. Coffey G 29 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
41.8 FG% 50.0
22.2 3PT FG% 41.7
62.5 FT% 80.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Baker 13 1 2 5/15 1/5 2/4 1 30 1 0 3 0 1
R. Harper Jr. 9 3 2 3/8 2/5 1/2 3 26 1 0 1 0 3
S. Carter 8 6 2 4/7 0/0 0/1 4 26 0 0 1 3 3
M. Mathis 8 4 2 3/8 0/2 2/2 1 22 0 1 2 2 2
S. Doorson 2 3 2 1/5 0/0 0/0 2 18 0 0 0 1 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Baker 13 1 2 5/15 1/5 2/4 1 30 1 0 3 0 1
R. Harper Jr. 9 3 2 3/8 2/5 1/2 3 26 1 0 1 0 3
S. Carter 8 6 2 4/7 0/0 0/1 4 26 0 0 1 3 3
M. Mathis 8 4 2 3/8 0/2 2/2 1 22 0 1 2 2 2
S. Doorson 2 3 2 1/5 0/0 0/0 2 18 0 0 0 1 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Johnson 13 8 2 5/11 0/0 3/4 2 27 0 0 1 5 3
C. McConnell 9 3 0 4/5 1/2 0/0 0 11 0 0 2 1 2
P. Kiss 6 3 0 2/4 0/2 2/3 1 22 0 0 1 1 2
I. Thiam 2 4 0 1/4 0/2 0/0 3 17 1 0 0 0 4
J. Downes 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
E. Omoruyi - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Young - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Nathan - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Doucoure - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 70 35 12 28/67 4/18 10/16 18 200 3 1 11 13 22
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Coffey 29 3 4 10/14 1/4 8/10 1 34 1 0 1 0 3
D. McBrayer 15 4 10 5/10 4/6 1/2 0 36 1 0 1 0 4
J. Murphy 15 14 2 3/12 0/2 9/11 1 32 2 2 1 2 12
G. Kalscheur 11 2 2 3/7 3/7 2/2 4 26 0 0 1 1 1
D. Oturu 8 3 0 4/7 0/0 0/0 2 26 1 2 2 1 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Coffey 29 3 4 10/14 1/4 8/10 1 34 1 0 1 0 3
D. McBrayer 15 4 10 5/10 4/6 1/2 0 36 1 0 1 0 4
J. Murphy 15 14 2 3/12 0/2 9/11 1 32 2 2 1 2 12
G. Kalscheur 11 2 2 3/7 3/7 2/2 4 26 0 0 1 1 1
D. Oturu 8 3 0 4/7 0/0 0/0 2 26 1 2 2 1 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
I. Washington 8 0 5 3/3 2/2 0/0 3 14 1 1 0 0 0
E. Curry 2 2 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 2 10 1 0 1 1 1
M. Stockman 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0
B. Stull 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 1 0
M. Hurt 0 3 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 12 0 0 1 1 2
B. Rudrud 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Omersa 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Willis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
H. Conroy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Carr - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 88 32 24 29/58 10/24 20/25 15 200 7 5 8 7 25