November 7, 2018 / 3:25 AM / 6 days ago

Minnesota awakens to hammer Omaha

Junior guard Amir Coffey scored 18 points and senior guard Dupree McBrayer added 17 as Minnesota rolled to a 104-76 nonconference victory over visiting Omaha in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday.

The Gophers trailed 26-25 with six minutes remaining in the first half, but went on a 24-6 run to gain control of the game and take a 50-31 lead into halftime. Minnesota shot 62.9 percent from the field (39 of 62), to Omaha’s 44.4 percent, and went 10-of-21 from 3-point range.

Senior guard Zach Jackson scored 21 points, including the first 10 points of the game, for the Mavericks. Johnson’s 3-pointer with 11:58 remaining in the first half gave him 1,000 points in his college career.

Senior forward Mitch Hahn scored 14 points for Omaha, while freshman forward Wanjang Tut added 13 points and junior guard JT Gibson had 10. The Mavericks were outrebounded 41-21 by the Gophers.

Freshman center Daniel Oturu scored 14 points with eight rebounds for Minnesota, which has won 21 of its past 22 season openers, including four consecutive. McBrayer was 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

Gophers senior forward Jordan Murphy, a preseason All-Big Ten selection, recorded a season-opening double-double, scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Isaiah Washington had personal best 11 assists after recording eight assists on two occasions last season.

The Gophers are looking to rebound from a disappointing 15-17 record last season after earning an NCAA Tournament berth in 2016-17 under sixth-year head coach Richard Pitino. Minnesota has just two November games on its home court, although it will play host to Oklahoma State on Nov. 30 at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings.

Omaha, which moved to the Division I level in 2011, is coming off a 9-22 season after recording identical 18-14 records in each of the previous two seasons.

Minnesota’s blowout victory was in stark contrast to the last time the teams met, when the Gophers scratched out a 93-90 victory in 2015.

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