The Gophers were down one player to injury for Saturday’s 84-63 win vs. Indiana, but they gained another back into the rotation.
Sophomore point guard Isaiah Washington was sidelined Saturday because of a tailbone injury. Missing Washington off the bench was offset by redshirt sophomore big man Eric Curry’s return after missing two games with a calf injury.
Curry had two points, two rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes. He was a valuable frontcourt presence with starting center Daniel Oturu in foul trouble. Oturu fouled out with only seven points and one rebound in 13 minutes against the Hoosiers.
“I love Curry,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “I’m like the president of his fan club. The guy just makes me look like a good coach, because he’s a smart, smart player.”
Curry, who missed the first 12 games this season after knee surgery, was out for a second straight game in Wednesday’s 62-61 loss at Nebraska. Curry, who was averaging 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.5 minutes this season, started five games this season. The 6-9 Memphis native had been showing progress in January and scored a season-best 11 points in a Jan. 19 victory over Penn State.
“To miss as many games as he’s missed, it’s hard to come in and be effective,” Pitino said. “But he’s a good passer. I only have to look at him and he knows exactly what I’m saying.”
Washington tried to warm up with his teammates a couple of hours before the game, but he was ruled out and watched the game in street clothes. The 6-1 New York native averages 4.7 points and a team-best 3.2 assists this season in 17.2 minutes off the bench. But Washington’s production had dropped off recently in conference games.
In the loss at Nebraska, Washington was limited to two minutes. He played a combined 27 minutes and scored four points on 2-for-9 shooting in losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State.
“He was hurting,” Pitino said. “He didn’t practice yesterday. He tried to give it a go, but he was hobbling pretty good. Hopefully, tomorrow we get off and get him back.”
Senior Dupree McBrayer was honored before Saturday’s game for reaching 1,000 points in his career with the Gophers.
The 6-5 guard from Queens reached the milestone earlier in the week against the Cornhuskers. He scored 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting against the Hoosiers. That was his first double-figure scoring game since a Jan. 12 home victory over Rutgers.