Jordan Murphy moved within a game of Tim Duncan’s all-time NCAA record for consecutive double-doubles to start a season Wednesday night, scoring 17 points and grabbing 17 rebounds as Minnesota bounced Illinois 77-67 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Murphy has double-doubles in all 16 Golden Gopher games and can tie Duncan’s 21-year-old mark Saturday when Minnesota (13-3, 2-1 Big 10) hosts Indiana. Murphy is averaging 19 points and nearly 13 rebounds per game.
The Golden Gophers led 13-2 and never trailed, putting all five starters in double figures. Nate Mason added 17 points after missing Sunday’s 65-55 win over Harvard with an ankle injury, while Amir Coffey hit for 16.
Dupree McBrayer contributed 12 points and center Reggie Lynch chipped in his own double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. With Murphy and Lynch sweeping the glass, Minnesota won the rebounding battle, 48-39.
Leron Black tallied 14 points to pace the Fighting Illini (10-6, 0-3) and freshman guard Trent Frazier scored 12. But Illinois simply couldn’t overcome a rocky start that saw it miss 18 of its first 19 shots and trail by 20 points just over 12 minutes into the game.
The Fighting Illini gave it a good run, slicing the deficit to 39-26 at the half and making their move midway through the second half. When Da‘Monte Williams tipped in Michael Finke’s missed 3-pointer with 10:14 remaining, Illinois closed within 55-51.
Black sank a 3-pointer with 3:57 left in the game that drew the Fighting Illini within 65-60. But Mason applied the dagger, hustling to grab the rebound of a McBrayer air ball and swishing a corner 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining for an eight-point lead.
The Golden Gophers converted 45 percent of their field goal attempts, thanks to 12-of-21 shooting in the second half. They overcame poor 3-point shooting (5-of-20) and missed a dozen of their 34 free throw tries.
Illinois made only 25 of 72 field goal tries for the night and was 7-of-28 from the 3-point arc.
--Field Level Media