Associated Press, December 3, 2017

(AP) Nate Mason scored a season-high 26 points, Jordan Murphy had his ninth straight double-double to start the season and No. 12 Minnesota beat Rutgers 89-67 on Sunday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Murphy finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds to extend the nation's longest double-double streak. He came into the game leading the country in rebounding at 12.5 per game.

Reggie Lynch added 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for the Gophers (8-1), and Amir Coffey had 11 points and seven assists. Minnesota was coming off a five-point loss to No. 10 Miami on Wednesday night.

Freshman forward Mamadou Doucoure had 13 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (6-2) and freshman guard Geo Baker had 12 points. Corey Sanders had 10 points, and Deshawn Freeman added 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Minnesota led by 10 at the half, and Mason opened the second half by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. The senior point guard later converted four free throws on a technical foul and a one-and-one as the Gophers stretched their lead to 71-54

Murphy had 12 points and nine rebounds in the first half, which included a thunderous alley-oop dunk off a feed from Mason. But he picked up his third foul with 4:28 left in the first half and sat out until the break.

The rest of the Gophers picked up the slack with their leading scorer on the bench. Mason converted a four-point play after drawing a foul as he sank a floating, one-handed 3-pointer, and Coffey added six points in the final three minutes.

The Gophers ended the first half with a flourish. Coffey threw down a slam dunk in transition off a feed from Dupree McBrayer. Then after an offensive foul on Rutgers, Minnesota was able to run the clock down before Coffey hit Lynch in the lane for another dunk.

The Scarlet Knights are the Big Ten's top offensive rebounding team, and they lived up to their billing with 14 offensive boards in the first half. Consecutive put-back baskets by Mamadou Doucoure and Deshawn Freeman gave them a 7-6 lead, and Eugene Omoruyi scored three straight baskets inside as Rutgers kept it close through most of the first half.


Rutgers: After winning just six conference games total in their first three Big Ten seasons, the Scarlet Knights faced a tough test in their Big Ten opener. It won't get much easier with No. 3 Michigan State on deck, but with a young and talented roster, better times are on the horizon for Rutgers.

Minnesota: Miami was the first team to shoot over 50 percent against the Gophers this season, and Minnesota responded by holding Rutgers to 32.4 from the field. But it wasn't just a cold-shooting night for the opponent. Many of the Rutgers misses came inside as Murphy and Lynch left no shot uncontested.


Rutgers: Host No. 3 Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Minnesota: At Nebraska on Tuesday night.