By Patrick Donnelly, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Amir Coffey scored a career-high 32 points, Jordan Murphy had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Minnesota rallied to beat No. 24 Nebraska 85-78 on Wednesday night.
Isaac Copeland led Nebraska (7-2, 1-1 Big Ten) with 17 points and seven rebounds. Isaiah Roby chipped in 15 points and Glynn Watson added 14 for the Huskers, who were looking to start the season 8-1 for the first time in 15 years.
The Huskers led by as many as 13 in the second half, but the Gophers came back with the support of a raucous home crowd.
After Copeland picked up his fourth foul with 5:44 to go, Coffey converted a three-point play that cut Nebraska’s lead to 69-65. A minute later, Dupree McBrayer hit a 3-pointer to pull Minnesota to within 71-68.
After Watson made two free throws, Murphy and Coffey combined to score the next nine points, with Coffey’s 3-pointer putting Minnesota on top to stay, 77-73.
Coffey surpassed his previous career high of 30 with a driving layup with 53 seconds to go, and Murphy hit 4 of 4 free throws in the final 11 seconds.
Nebraska hit five of its first six shots to open the game, including a pair of 3-pointers, to lead 12-4. Coffey scored nine of his 14 first-half points in an 11-0 run that put Minnesota (7-2, 1-1) ahead 36-32.
Coffey picked up his third foul with 4:11 to play in the half. While he was out, James Palmer scored six points and the Huskers outscored Minnesota 12-3 to take a 44-39 lead at the break.
Nebraska: After beating Illinois by 15 points in their Big Ten opener, the Huskers needed to prove they could go on the road and win in a hostile environment. It looked good for 35 minutes, but they faded on both ends of the court down the stretch.
Minnesota: The Gophers went 0 for 13 on 3-pointers in their Big Ten season opener, a 20-point loss at Ohio State. They weren’t much better Wednesday, hitting 3 of 8, but McBrayer and Coffey each hit huge 3-pointers during Minnesota’s comeback.
Nebraska: Hosts Creighton on Saturday.
Minnesota: Hosts Arkansas State on Saturday.
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