The Minnesota Golden Gophers couldn’t afford to let another easy game get away from them.
They were routed by Illinois last Wednesday and on Saturday, they were trailing Penn State at the half at home.
Jordan Murphy, a Minnesota senior from San Antonio’s Brennan High School, knew what he had to do after talking to Gophers coach Richard Pitino.
“Coach just told me to keep my mind on rebounding because I was too much in my head in the first half,” Murphy told the Associated Press. “He just told me to keep my mind on rebounding, just getting stops, then everything else would follow, so that’s what I did.”
Murphy finished with 19 points and tied a career high with 21 boards as the Gophers came from behind to down the Nittany Lions, 65-64.
The Gophers (14-4, 4-3) are projected as a No. 9 seed in the latest bracket projections at cbssports.com leading into a Tuesday night challenge at Michigan.
Murphy is among the nation’s top rebounders at 12.1 per game.
Center Jordan Murphy, a University of Minnesota senior from Brennan High School, is coming on strong for the Golden Gophers from the Big Ten conference.
Murphy leads the Gophers with 16.2 points per game and leads all of Division I, averaging 12.9 rebounds.
The 6-foot-7 Murphy enjoyed another double-double performance Friday night (30 points, 16 rebounds) in a home victory over North Carolina A&T.
Minnesota is 10-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy isn’t the only big man from the San Antonio area making an impact in NCAA Division I basketball this season. Here is a breakdown on four of the best from Final Four city:
Who: Jordan Murphy, Minnesota junior from Brennan
Size, position: 6-6, 250, forward
Notable: Averaging 19.9 points and 12.5 rebounds. His 11 double doubles lead the nation. He’s also fourth nationally in rebounds and leads the Big Ten.
Who: Ben Lammers, Georgia Tech senior from Alamo Heights
Size, position: 6-10, 234, center
Notable: Averaging 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.8 blocks. He’s eighth in the nation in blocks.
Who: Tanner Leissner, New Hampshire senior from Judson
Size, position: 6-7, 230, center
Notable: Averaging 19.2 points, 8.8 rebounds. His scoring leads the team and ranks second in the America East Conference.
Who: Tristan Clark, Baylor freshman from Wagner
Size, position: 6-9, 240, forward
Notable: Averaging 8.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks. One of four players to start all nine games for the Bears.