MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Senior guard Nate Mason scored 17 points but missed most of the second half with a potentially severe ankle injury as Minnesota defeated Florida Atlantic 95-60 on Saturday.
Mason, the Gophers’ second-leading scorer and a first-team all-Big Ten pick last year, went to the floor early in the second half after getting tangled up in traffic. After a visit from the trainer, he was helped off the court but didn’t put any weight on his left ankle.
Jordan Murphy scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Minnesota (11-3), extending the nation’s longest double-double streak to 14 games. Amir Coffey and Reggie Lynch each had 11 points for the Gophers.
Gerdarius Troutman led the Owls (6-6) with 18 points, while Ronald Delph scored 17 and Jailyn Ingram had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Mason connected on his first three 3-pointers before the game was five minutes old. The third was part of an 18-0 run that staked the Gophers to a 28-7 lead.
During that stretch, Murphy displayed his diverse skills that have helped him emerge on the national scene this year. On the defensive end of the floor he wrestled a rebound away from the Owls’ big men, and on the ensuing trip down the court, Murphy took a pass at the top of the key and drained a 3-pointer.
The Gophers shot 55 percent from the floor, hitting 11 of 25 3-pointers.
Florida Atlantic: The Owls have played two teams from major conferences and have been blown out in both. Coming off a 90-54 loss at Texas Tech on Tuesday, the Owls were hoping for a better showing at Minnesota, but their defense wasn’t up to the test.
Minnesota: Losing Mason for an extended stretch would be devastating to the Gophers’ Big Ten hopes. The floor general is off to his best start as a Gopher, averaging 15.4 points per game and nearly four assists per turnover. Freshman Isaiah Washington would likely take over the point guard role in Mason’s absence.
Florida Atlantic: At Florida International on Dec. 30.
Minnesota: Hosts Harvard on Dec. 30.