Minneapolis, Minn. (December 30, 2018)—Mount St. Mary's battled Minnesota tough throughout before falling, 71-53, at Williams Arena on Sunday afternoon. In the final non-conference game matchup ahead of Northeast Conference play, freshmen Vado Morse and Dee Barnes combined for 31 points to pace the Mount in the game.
Morse matched his career-high with 18 points to lead the Mountaineers in scoring. Morse was 7-of-16 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range in the game. Barnes added 13 points, hitting 3-of-7 from beyond the arc for the Mountaineers. Omar Habwe chipped in nine points and six rebounds while Malik Jefferson pulled down a team-high nine rebounds for the Mountaineers.
Dupree McBrayer led four Minnesota (10-3) players in double figures with 15 points. Amir Coffey added 13, Daniel Oturu 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Murphy 10 points for the Golden Gophers.
Leading 31-23 at the half, Minnesota opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 15-point advantage. The Mount, which saw its three-game win streak snapped with the loss, responded with the next five points on a Morse drive and a Barnes three-pointer to make it 38-28. After the Golden Gophers pushed the lead to 44-28, the Mountaineers rattled off a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to six midway through the second half.
Three-pointers by Habwe, Barnes and Morse closed out the Mount's 10-0 run that made it 44-38. The Mountaineers continued to hang tough, making it 51-45 on a Morse drive and a Jalen Gibbs fast-break bucket with 7:17 left in the second half. Minnesota answered with the next seven points to push the advantage to 58-45, and outscored the Mount, 20-8, over the final seven minutes to secure the win.
The Mountaineers shot 33.9 percent from the field in the game, including 8-of-24 (.333) from three-point range. Minnesota converted 42.3 percent overall and was 4-of-19 (.211) from three-point range. The Golden Gophers were 23-of-30 at the foul line while holding a 42-34 edge on the boards.
In the first half, Minnesota raced to a 9-0 run to open the game before Barnes drained a three-pointer to get the Mountaineers on the board. The Barnes three-pointer started a 9-to-2 Mount that was capped by a Morse drive that cut the deficit to 11-9.
The Golden Gophers responded with the next six points to push the lead back to eight, but a Nana Opoku three-pointer cut the Mount's deficit to 19-14. Minnesota scored the next six points to take its biggest lead of the half, 25-14. Morse converted a traditional three-point play on the break to stop the run and cut the deficit to eight. From there, the Golden Gophers maintained the advantage for a 31-23 lead at the half.
Morse and Barnes led the Mount with five points each in the opening half while Jefferson had a team-high six rebounds. The Mount shot just 29.4 percent (10-of-34) from the field in the half, hitting 2-of-10 (.200) from three-point range. Minnesota shot 40.0 percent (12-of-30) in the half, but was also 2-of-10 (.200) from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers open Northeast Conference play on Thursday, January 3, at preseason favorite Saint Francis U. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.