Early in the first half Tuesday night, Jordan Murphy tried to muscle his way to the basket and lost the ball out of bounds after a defender made contact with him.
Murphy complained he was fouled. Richard Pitino threw his hands up with frustration during a timeout at the no-call, but the officials were letting the game get physical against Santa Clara.
Murphy broke the school’s career rebounding record Tuesday, but the senior forward and his teammates struggled finishing inside for most of the night to fall behind seven points in the first half.
A comeback was fueled by the hot shooting of Gabe Kalscheur, however, who scored 25 points, including making six of his seven three-point baskets in the first half to help Minnesota beat the Broncos 80-66 in the second of three games in the Vancouver Showcase.
“We’re not even close to where we need to be, but we’re sitting at 4-0,” Pitino said. “Gabe being able to hit shots gave us confidence.”
Kalscheur overshadowed Murphy breaking Mychal Thompson’s career school rebounding record of 956. Murphy had a tough night offensively (15 points on 3-for-9 shooting and 9-for-16 on free throws), but he finished with his second 17-rebound game of the season.
“It’s a really big accomplishment, a really big honor,” Murphy said of the record. “It’s definitely something I’m really proud of. It’s something I look forward to blowing out of the water. There’s plenty more rebounds to get out there this season.”
For the second game in a row, the Gophers were atrocious offensively in the first half. In Sunday night’s 69-64 win against Texas A&M, they committed 16 of their season-high 20 turnovers before halftime.
On Tuesday, the Broncos (0-4) took a 26-19 lead with 8:22 left in the first half on a jumper from Tahj Eaddy. Murphy’s layup broke the shooting spell, but Kalscheur’s four three-pointers in a row sparked a 14-3 run and gave Minnesota a 33-29 halftime lead.
Kalscheur’s teammates shot just 6-for-29 from the field in the first half. The DeLaSalle product’s seventh three-pointer of the game was followed by a dunk from Murphy and a converted three-point play for an eight-point advantage early in the second half.
Keshawn Justice, a Madison, Wis., native, hit back-to-back threes for Santa Clara to cap a 10-2 run and tie the score at 46 at the 11:32 mark, but the Gophers took control from there on defense.
With 3:14 left, Broncos coach Herb Sendek was ejected from the game for picking up consecutive technical fouls arguing with officials
Dupree McBrayer made two free throws on the second technical, but his emphatic dunk later made it 77-63 for the Gophers, who end their Vancouver trip Wednesday against Washington.
“With this next game we’re going to find out where we’re at,” said McBrayer, who had 15 points. “We just have to play hard, play smart, play together and rebound. If we do those things, we’ll be looking at 3-0 [in Vancouver].”