Murphy scores season-high 24 points, Gophers earn win at U.S. Bank Stadium
MINNEAPOLIS — Jordan Murphy scored a season-high 24 points to lead five players in double figures, and he added 16 rebounds to lead Minnesota to an 83-76 win against Oklahoma State on Friday night as part of the U.S. Bank Stadium Basketball Classic.
Gabe Kalscheur scored 14 points, hitting three 3-pointers in the second half for Minnesota (6-1), which overcame its first loss of the season at Boston College. Isaiah Washington added 15 points for the Gophers.
Lindy Waters III led Oklahoma State with 18 points. Waters hit 4 of 6 from 3-point territory. The Cowboys (4-3), who entered with the 16th best 3-point percentage in the country at 42.5 percent, were 10 of 19 from 3, but just 12 of 24 from the free-throw line.
Michael Weathers added 17 points for Oklahoma State.
The Gophers started slow, leaning on Murphy, their senior forward who was named to several player of the year award watch lists. Murphy scored 13 of the team’s first 18 points and finished with the 51st double-double of his career, tying Jim Brewer for the most in school history.
Two 3s from Dupree McBrayer and Kalscheur pushed the Gophers to open their biggest lead of the game at 18 points in the second half. But Minnesota went without a field goal for more than four minutes and Oklahoma State closed within 77-73.
The Gophers were 23 of 30 from the free-throw line to close out the game.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys couldn’t follow up their win against No. 19 LSU on Sunday. Oklahoma State has six wins over ranked opponents in coach Mike Boynton’s two seasons but has had letdowns, too. The typically strong-shooting Cowboys had trouble in the expanse of the football stadium, hitting 42.9 percent from the field.
Minnesota: Another neutral-site victory should help the Gophers in their bid to return to the NCAA tournament. Minnesota will have the strength of schedule of playing in the Big Ten and has now won four neutral-site games already this season after going 3-0 at the Vancouver Showcase.
The game is part of a four-game showing at U.S. Bank Stadium in preparation for hosting the 2019 Final Four. The three-year stadium hosts the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and was the site of the Super Bowl in February.
On Saturday, North Dakota State and Drake play, followed by South Dakota State and Northern Iowa. Division III St. Thomas and Wisconsin-River Falls played earlier on Friday.
Oklahoma State plays at Tulsa on Wednesday.
Minnesota goes to Ohio State on Sunday.