Jordan Murphy definitely wasn’t hunting for points or rebounds trying to reach double figures in Saturday’s 75-71 Gophers loss against Indiana.
There was little doubt the 6-foot-7 junior forward would score at least 10 points when he was only a few points away even in foul trouble at halftime. But Murphy faced an uphill battle having to grab nine rebounds in the second half to tie ex-Wake Forest star Tim Duncan’s double-double streak to start the season with 17 in a row.
Like some of his teammates, Murphy missed on opportunities to tie the game late, including the front end of a one-and-one and a desperation three-pointer.
He still finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. And, of course, Murphy’s amazing streak that hasn’t been done in 21 years in college basketball is still alive – with a chance to pass the San Antonio native’s idol Duncan in Wednesday’s game at Northwestern.
It was a lot tougher on Murphy than even previous games when he would face double teams, especially with the absence of suspended center Reggie Lynch. Murphy shot 5-for-14 from the field and had four turnovers, but he was 7-for-8 from the foul line.
“He battled,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “I’m proud of him to tie that record. Forget about today’s game. As disappointed as I am that we didn’t win, you take a step back. Seventeen double-doubles ties a record. I may not be happy with anything right now, but I’m really proud of him. He’s come a long way and that’s an awesome streak that he should be proud of.”
Murphy’s mother, Celia, who is from the Virgin Islands like Duncan, said this week she always saw the same quiet and humble but driven personality in her son that the San Antonio Spurs legend had. Murphy's family loved following and watching Duncan for so many years.
“I almost had a heart attack watching this game,” Murphy's mom said Saturday. “But hopefully this will be a positive thing for fans to focus on, at least for a moment.”
COFFEY INJURY UPDATE
Pitino said after the Indiana loss that the Gophers didn’t find out about the severity of Amir Coffey’s right shoulder injury until Friday night.
After a magnetic resonance imaging exam, it was diagnosed that the sophomore guard had a HAGL (Humeral Avulsion of Glenohumeral Ligament) lesion, which is a type of ligament tear of the shoulder.
Coffey’s father, Richard, said his son would attempt to likely rehab the injury first without surgery. Surgery would end his season needing a possible four-month recovery. Pitino said he didn’t know a timetable for Coffey's return.
“We’ll see treatment-wise,” Pitino said. “I don’t think it will be anytime soon. We want to get him healthy and really treat him and see from there. I don’t think he will be back soon. We’ll just have to hope and see how he responds to treatment.”
Coffey was averaging 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 31.4 minutes per game. Sophomore Michael Hurt, who replaced Coffey in the starting lineup, had zero points, four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes.
Pitino said Coffey's injury happened in Wednesday's win against Illinois.
MILLER BELIEVES IN MINNESOTA
Indiana coach Archie Miller entered Saturday’s game without posts De’Ron Davis (Achilles) and Collin Hartman (shoulder), who average a combined 16 points per game.
Miller got the support he needed off the bench and from his star players. Freshman Justin Smith started in place of Davis and finished with a career-high 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Robert Johnson, who averaged six points in four career games against Minnesota, scored a career-high 28 points. Juwan Morgan also had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
When asked about how the Gophers will replace Lynch and Coffey (combined 24 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks per game), Miller said he’s just focusing on his team.
“Minnesota is a terrific team,” Miller said. “Richard is a great coach. They have a lot of pieces around, especially with that backcourt they can build around. I expect them really figure a way to have a good season, because they have a good team.”