Niagara vs Minnesota Preview and Prediction
Niagara vs Minnesota Preview
The No.15 Minnesota Golden Gophers continue their non-conference schedule as they host the Niagara Purple Eagles Wednesday night at Williams Arena.
If the Purple Eagles want any chance of an upset they will need to slow down Minnesota junior forward Jordan Murphy who has dominated his competition in each game this season. After a season-opening 92-77 win Friday night over USC Upstate in which he went off for a career-high 35 points and 15 rebounds, Murphy talked about the balance of his team’s starting lineup…
“We have so many weapons that it will be hard for people to guard us,” he said. “Anyone can get hot at any minute.”
Murphy was again the hottest of the Golden Gophers on Monday night at Providence, recording 23 points to go along with 14 rebounds as the nation’s 15th-ranked team notched an impressive 86-74 verdict over the Friars.
The Golden Gophers (2-0) shot nearly 51 percent from the field, won the rebounding battle 38-31 and committed only 12 turnovers against a good opponent on its floor. It was the kind of win that not only resonates now, but could pay dividends come March.
“I definitely like the resistance,” Murphy said. “It’s definitely something that makes you stay on your toughness. That’s to their credit. They brought that out of us and we played like a team and we were tough together. We’re hard to stop when that happens.”
Niagara (1-0) opened its season Friday night with an impressive 77-75 win at St. Bonaventure, which is expected to challenge for the Atlantic 10 Conference title. Its backcourt of Kahlil Dukes and Matt Scott combined for 41 points, with Dukes stroking six 3-pointers and scoring 23 points.
“It’s the first time we’ve had some carryover and haven’t had to replace a large piece of the roster,” Casey said. “Transfers really hurt us.”
Not known as one of Niagara’s key contributors, junior forward Marvin Prochet will be tasked with slowing down Jordan Murphy. If Prochet can limit his scoring opportunities, the Purple Eagles can stay in the game.
Kahlil Dukes may need to hit more than six threes like he did against the Bonnies in order for Niagara to keep it close–and the way Minnesota plays defense that will be very difficult to do.
Minnesota 83 Niagara 68