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Postgame: Gophers fans introduced to Jordan Murphy in win over Clemson

Read my full story on Minnesota’s 89-83 win over Clemson, here.

Three observations before I hit the snowy roads:

Hello, Murphy. Ever since freshman Jordan Murphy stepped on campus and we heard coach Richard Pitino gush and caught glimpses of the 6-6 forward’s length and explosiveness at the basket, we’ve been waiting to see this. Well, maybe not this, exactly, but some version of the high-powered Murphy we saw dominate the court on Monday night. An extremely hard-working rebounder with natural pop. A powerful scorer in the paint. In the last two games, Murphy seems to have woken up and realized he could be those things, and now. Monday was almost too strong a performance to anticipate at this stage – with eight offensive rebounds, two blocks and two steals complementing his 24 points, and his ability to explode from the baseline to tip in wayward shots. Very impressive, indeed – as Charles Buggs said, a “young Trevor Mbakwe.” It’s my belief that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Not what I expected, but entertaining. Pitino has built his stylistic reputation on defense and that seemed like the key vs. a lackluster Clemson offense on Monday. Instead, the Gophers allowed the Tigers to shoot 14 three-pointers after making more than eight just once this year and shoot 53.7 percent from the field. But besides getting to the line 30 times (making 24), Minnesota out-ran Clemson on the other end, out-rebounded the Tigers and made few mistakes (13 personal fouls and six turnovers). Just like the Gophers, right? Ok, not really, but it made for a good game to watch.

Don’t underestimate Dorsey’s worth here. No eye-popping stats tonight, but 6-foot freshman guard Kevin Dorsey was every bit as critical to this win as anyone. The pressure he put on Clemson’s guards appeared to baffle them and slowed the Tigers’ attack to a crawl. Dorsey has so many tools that will make him a good player, his speed and defensive prowess hitting the top of that list. But the undersized freshman’s insane athleticism also allows him to contest shots and leap up for rebounds that should belong to the bigs.

Gophers pregame: Trying to contain Clemson's Blossomgame

Minnesota tips off vs. Clemson tonight at 8 p.m. at Williams Arena. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Listen live on 1500-a.m.

Check out my feature on Joey King in today’s Star Tribune, here.

Previewing both teams, here.

Three things to watch in this year’s ACC/ Big Ten Challenge:

Jaron Blossomgame. The 6-7 Clemson big man looks primed to take the next leap after averaging 20.7 points a game in his last three games and confounding defenses with his combination of length, quickness and explosiveness around the rim. Blossomgame is nationally ranked in a number of different categories, including his 71.8 percent success rate on two-point shots, which lands 55th in the country. The Gophers didn’t have many solutions for Omaha attacking the basket last game, and will have a bigger test tonight. The Tigers aren’t the best three-point shooting team, so it would stand to reason that coach Richard Pitino would pack the paint a bit more in this matchup, but will it be enough?

Balanced offense. In Minnesota’s four wins, the Gophers have averaged almost ten three-pointers a game, a number that is skewed lower by the outlier game vs. Louisiana Monroe in which they hit just three. In the Gophers two losses? They’ve managed just four and six respectively. Minnesota hasn’t had the most balanced offense early, unable to scrap together much fight if its shot isn’t falling. But the Gophers will likely need to spread out their production vs. defensive stalwart Clemson, which has the fifth-ranked scoring defense, allowing just 56.2 points per game so far. If Minnesota stays one-dimensional in its attack, the Tigers will likely have no problem shutting it down early and it could be a long night for the Gophers.

The new old Nate Mason. After a couple of down games in Puerto Rico, sophomore guard Nate Mason looked like the player we had come to expect through the first few games of the season – picking the team up in big moments, hitting shots and creating plays for his teammates. Is Mason back? The Gophers certainly need him to hit a groove and stay there, especially if they want to steal one vs. Clemson tonight.


Center Bakary Konate was watching closely after terrorists attacked locations around Paris earlier this month, and then in a separate incident, a luxury hotel in Mali was attacked by terrorists.

Konate, who grew up in Mali but moved to Europe in high school, has friends in Paris and his parents are still in his home country. But although he knew second hand of some friends’ relatives that were injured, none of his immediate circle were hurt.

“That stuff right now is very scary,” he said. “France and then Mali. I’m blessed that god has protected all my family and me.”


After the Gophers missed five of eight free throws in the final 24 seconds of a 93-90 win over Omaha on Friday, senior forward Joey King said the team needed to practice from the line more in pressure situations. How do they simulate pressure situations in practice?

“Consequence,” King said. “[If you don’t make them you will] go spend some time with [strength and conditioning coach] Shaun Brown.”

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Wild at Chicago

    7 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Orlando at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Duke

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • Toronto at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Ohio State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    7:07 pm

  • South Dakota at Gophers men's basketball

    2 pm on 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    3:07 pm

  • Ohio State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on ESPNEWS, 1500-AM

  • Colorado at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Portland at Timberwolves

    7:05 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Seattle at Vikings

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Towson at Gophers women's basketball

    7 pm on 1500-AM

  • L.A. Clippers at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Colorado

    8 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

Today's Scoreboard

  • Baltimore



    - F



  • Carolina

    NY Rangers


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  • Colorado

    NY Islanders


    - F



  • Edmonton



    - F



  • Vancouver



    - F



  • Boston



    - F



  • Houston



    - F



  • Oklahoma City



    - F



  • Denver



    - F



  • San Antonio



    - F



  • Golden State



    - F



  • Dallas



    - F



  • Portland

    LA Clippers


    - F



No games for MLS