Preview: The Gophers (3-0) will make their first appearance in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a series between the Big Ten and Big East named for former Big East Commissioner Dave Gavitt that started last year. Two years ago, the Steve Lavin-coached Red Storm beat the Gophers at Madison Square Garden as part of the NIT Tip-Off. Former NBA star Chris Mullin replaced Lavin last season, going 8-24 in his first year at his alma mater. But much like the Gophers, St. John’s is expected to be much improved this season, and it won its first two games, beating Bethune-Cookman 100-53 and Binghampton 77-61 at home.
Players to watch: Gophers sophomore Jordan Murphy scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, to go with 12 rebounds in Wednesday’s 80-56 victory over Mount St. Mary’s. Sophomore Dupree McBrayer, a New York City native, is tied for the team lead at 13.7 points per game and is shooting 69.6 percent shooting from the field. Freshman Shamorie Ponds, a former Gophers recruiting target, is averaging 14.5 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds for St. John’s. Redshirt freshman Marcus Lovett leads the Red Storm with 21 points and 5.5 assists.
Numbers: The Gophers have scored at least 80 points in each of their first three games to open the season, the first time they have done that since 2001.