Minnesota holds off UNO with barrage of 3-pointers

Published 2:34 pm Saturday, November 28, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — Joey King wasn’t happy about missing the last eight minutes of the first half. But he made good use of his time on the bench.

King hit four second-half 3-pointers and finished with 18 points to help Minnesota hold off Nebraska-Omaha 93-90 on Friday.

The senior forward is Minnesota’s leading scorer, but when he picked up his second foul with 7:25 to play in the first half, he found himself on the bench for the rest of the half.

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“I was a little frustrated with that,” King said, who took just two shots in the first half. “But having to sit those last eight minutes I was able to watch the game and see what was going on. They were playing tough in the post, slapping down, and that’s when I realized if we maybe ran some plays where we freed up some space, I’d find some open 3s.”

King hit all four 3-pointers he took in the second half, including one that rolled around the rim before dropping through to put Minnesota ahead 80-75 with five minutes to play.

Bakary Konate added 14 points with 10 rebounds—both career highs—for the Golden Gophers (4-2). Carlos Morris scored 17 points, Nate Mason added 16 and freshman Jordan Murphy chipped in 14.

Jake White scored 23 points to lead Omaha (3-3). Tre’Shawn Thurman added 16 points and 10 rebounds, but missed a chance to tie the game in a wild finish.

Minnesota led 90-83 with 2:00 to play, but the Golden Gophers missed 5 of 8 free throws in the final 25 seconds and the Mavericks took advantage. Down by two points in the final 10 seconds, Thurman came up empty on a drive to the hoop, and Murphy grabbed the rebound for Minnesota.

“It was just a bang-bang play,” Thurman said. “It kind of came out of my hand short.”

The Mavericks, who are in just their fourth year of Division I play out of the Summit League, blew a halftime lead in a loss at Colorado on Sunday. They took little consolation in making another big school work hard for a win on Friday.

“Do we feel good about being close? No,” head coach Derrin Hansen said. “But we can sure build upon it, and we’re trying to be as good as we can be come January 1 when we start the league.”

Omaha capitalized on turnovers on Minnesota’s first two possessions en route to a quick 8-0 lead. Minnesota took its first lead on Mason’s 3-pointer to make it 28-27. The teams kept it close the rest of the first half, with Omaha leading 42-41 at the break.