MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dewan Huell scored 23 points in 27 minutes and Bruce Brown Jr. added 16 points and nine rebounds to help the No. 10 Miami beat No. 12 Minnesota 86-81 on Wednesday night as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Ja’quan Newton had 12 points and nine assists, and Dejan Vasiljevic (11 points) and Chris Lykes (10 points) combined for half of Miami’s 10 makes in 25 attempts from 3-point range. The Hurricanes (6-0) shot 56 percent from the field after halftime and had 17 points off Minnesota turnovers.
Amir Coffey scored 23 points and Jordan Murphy had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Gophers (7-1), who never led in the second half after a 36-all tie at the break. They came within 73-71 on Isaiah Washington’s layup. Murphy missed two free throws with 3:09 to go after a dunk by Huell, though, and they didn’t get closer.
Washington scored 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting. Nate Mason added 15 points, and Reggie Lynch had 12 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota’s power game in the paint was outdone by Miami’s outside shooting.
The Hurricanes were the first ranked nonconference opponent to visit Williams Arena since No. 17 Georgia in 2002, and the crowd at “The Barn” was buzzing with a line down the block to get in the 89-year-old arena and a sellout announced before tipoff. Even Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a Miami native, was in attendance.
The Gophers didn’t face any Top 25 teams at all in nonconference play in either of the last two seasons. This was their second such contest in five days, after an 89-84 victory over No. 24 Alabama in New York at the Barclays Center that garnered more attention for the mass ejection that preceded a foul out and an ankle injury that left the Crimson Tide with only three players for the final quarter of the game.
The Hurricanes, in case there were any questions from the wise-guy crowd, had a complete lineup on the court the entire night. It’s a good one at that, maybe the most talented in program history at a school where football has always been king.
After a 40-point performance by Alabama’s Collin Sexton, the Gophers had to face two more projected 2018 first-round NBA draft picks in the sophomore Brown and the acclaimed freshman Lonnie Walker. The Hurricanes are much deeper than just the two of them, though.
Huell was unafraid of attacking the basket, using a soft hook to counteract the Murphy-Lynch tandem that combined for 10 blocked shots, and the ball was whipping around on the perimeter to find the best shot among several viable options.
Lykes, the 5-foot-7 freshman, replaced Vasiljevic in the lineup to start the second half and swished a couple of key 3-pointers that helped the Hurricanes pull away. He used a slick fake pass in the corner to get Gophers forward Michael Hurt to jump and open his shooting lane for a 52-45 lead. Vasiljevic later banked in a 3-pointer from the wing for a 68-56 advantage that was Miami’s biggest of the game.
Murphy, the junior power forward who has emerged in the early going this season as one of the best big men in the country, easily stretched his double-double streak to a program-record eight straight games.
In one stretch in the first half, he blocked Walker’s shot sandwiched between 3-pointers by Mason and then came up with a steal. But the Gophers didn’t get Murphy the ball enough in the decisive stretch after halftime, and they just didn’t have enough scoring to match the Hurricanes.
Miami: This is the second 6-0 start for the Hurricanes in four years, but the competition prior to Minnesota was insignificant. That made this performance all the more meaningful for coach Jim Larranaga’s squad, which never trailed by more than six points and appeared unfazed by the raised court and screaming gold-clad fans.
Minnesota: With Dupree McBrayer out because of a leg injury, the freshman Washington was thrust into the starting lineup to further thin a Gophers bench that will be their biggest concern in 2018. Sophomore power forward Eric Curry’s preseason knee injury was costly, keeping a key contributor out of the rotation.
Miami: Returns home to face Princeton off campus on Saturday in the Hoophall Miami Invitational. No. 2 Kansas plays Syracuse in the other half of the doubleheader at AmericanAirlines Arena, where the NBA’s Heat play.
Minnesota: Plays Rutgers on Sunday in an early Big Ten opener. Each conference team has two league games in the next week to make room at the end of the schedule for the Big Ten Tournament, which will be played a week earlier than usual in New York at Madison Square Garden.
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