Providence and Minnesota kicked off the 2017 Gavitt Games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Monday night with a chippy battle that would end in a 12 point Golden Gophers win, 86-74.
The Golden Gophers got out to a quick start in this one, jumping out to a 10 point lead just four minutes into the game. Providence held strong and fought back to tie it later on in the half. A late surge would put the Friars up 6 thanks to back to back threes from Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Lindsey. Providence led by 3 entering the second half.
Providence made a strong effort to get the ball inside right off the bat in the second frame, as Minnesota struggled to contain Kalif Young. He scored 8 straight points over a four minute stretch for the Friars. The sophomore would finish with 11 points in 15 minutes.
PC’s front court also did a nice job of getting the Gopher’s bigs into foul trouble. With fourteen minutes remaining, Davonte Fitzgerald, Bakary Konate, and Reggie Lynch had 4, 4, and 3, respectively.
These fouls didn’t stop Minnesota from producing on offense however, as the momentum quickly turned in their favor. Around the midway point in the second half, the Gophers rode a 17-7 run to take a 63-58 lead. Providence struggled to defend Jordan Murphy and Amir Coffey, while also keeping Lynch in check underneath. Coffey began to heat up from three, as his third of the half put Minnesota up by 9 with 6:44 left. He finished with 15 on the night.
The Golden Gophers would never give up the lead following their second half surge, as they continued to shred the Friars defense. They shot 60.7% from the field in the final 20 minutes. Murphy was extremely effective, even finding ways to get inside when Providence fell back into a zone. He finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds following his 35 point performance over the weekend.
- Providence dealt with foul trouble early on, piling up 10 team fouls with 4:32 left in the first half. Granted some of these fouls were of the ticky-tack variety, but the Friars would finish with 13 in each half.
- Both benches and the crowd on hand voiced their displeasure with the referees throughout the game tonight. They were certainly whistle happy. With 10 minutes to go in the game, 9 players had at least 3 fouls.
- Kyron Cartwright led the way for the Friars with 12 points and 9 assists. Four others were in double figures.
- Rodney Bullock was relatively absent tonight, finishing with 10 points, while struggling to defend Murphy on defense. With plenty of depth this year, Cooley should have a shorter leash in performances like this.
- Minnesota’s combination of Murphy, Lynch, Mason, and Coffey will be tough for any team to defend. You’ll be seeing plenty more of this team in March.
- There was a large NBA presence at the Dunk tonight. Personnel from the Celtics, Knicks, Wizards, Thunder, Cavaliers , Nets, Grizzlies, Lakers, Pistons, and Clippers were all in attendance.
The Friars look to regroup as they head off to Madison Square Garden for the 2K Classic this week, facing off against Washington at 9:30 on Thursday night.