Amir Coffey’s 32 points leads Gophers to comeback victory over Nebraska
Six games was a long time to be away from home. By far the longest stretch in fact that the Gophers mens basketball team played away from Williams Arena in Richard Pitinos six seasons as coach.
Being in familiar surroundings and a career-high 32 points from Amir Coffey was enough to help them get their first Big Ten win this season in a 85-78 victory to No. 24 Nebraska at the Barn.
The Gophers (7-2), who lost 79-59 at No. 16 Ohio State on Sunday night to open early league play, bounced back with inspired play for senior guard Dupree McBrayer, who lost his mother to a battle with cancer on Monday.
The Cornhuskers (7-2), who shot 51 percent in the first half, led by as much as 13 points in the second half and scored 19 points on 13 turnovers. But they were outscored 31-11 in the last 10 minutes, 20 seconds of the game.
Coffey tried to single-handily carry a team playing with heavy hearts as players wore patches with the initials of Tayra McFarlane, McBrayers mother. The 6-foot-8 junior nailed a three-pointer for his 30th point that capped a 9-0 run and gave Minnesota a 77-73 lead with 2:25 remaining in the game.
A couple minutes earlier, McBrayer hit a three-pointer that ignited the crowd. The New York native and co-captain would foul out with 1:17 to play, but his teammates sealed the much-needed win while playing for him.
Coffey shot 8-for-16 from the field and 14-for-17 from the foul line, to go with six assists and six rebounds. Jordan Murphy finished with 18 point and 13 rebounds, which gave him a school record 52nd double-double in his career for the Gophers, who shot 57 percent and held Nebraska to 38 percent in the second half.