Two weeks into the Gophers regular season and Jordan Murphy was already named Big Ten player of the week for the second straight time Monday.
This is the first time a Gopher player was named Big Ten player of the week in consecutive weeks since the award started in 1981-82.
Murphy had 18 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday in a 107-81 win against Niagara, including 16 points in the second half. The 6-foot-6 junior forward bounced back from another slow start Sunday with 21 of his team-high 23 points in the second half, to go with 11 rebounds in a 92-64 win against Western Carolina.
"I didn't rebound good in the first half," Murphy said. "That's why I struggled a little bit. As the second half went on and I started to relax a little more the rebounding got (better) and I got a couple fouls."
Murphy's 15-for-19 performance from the foul line was a career high and the most for a Gophers player since Trevor Mbakwe's 16 free throws against Fairfield in 2011.
Murphy is currently leading the Big Ten in scoring (24.8) and rebounding (12.8) through four games. He’s tied for the lead nationally with four double-doubles. He has 11 double-doubles in his last 15 games back to last season.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino told Murphy after a poor half Sunday not to be overly concerned with putting up big numbers every night. Murphy had a monster 35-point, 15-rebound game in the opener against South Carolina Upstate, which helped him earn Big Ten player of the week honors last Monday.
"I told him at halftime, 'You seem like your consumed with touches and points," Pitino said. "The best part about Murphy is he said, 'Yeah, you're right.' He didn't fight me on it. He took to it and he had the right mentality in the second half."