The Gophers and Nebraska basketball teams honored the memory of senior guard Dupree McBrayer’s mother before Wednesday’s Big Ten matchup at Williams Arena.
There was a moment of silence before team introductions for Tayra McFarlane, 58, who died of cancer Monday in New York. Minnesota players wore patches with her initials, while Gophers coaches had pins on their shirts.
The Cornhuskers also donned warmup jerseys with “RIP Tayra” on the fronts.
“So classy of Tim Miles and that Nebraska program to honor him,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said after the 85-78 win.
McFarlane, a big supporter of the Gophers, retired from her job as a prison warden in New York to attend more of her son’s games this season. But she had a stroke in October and was diagnosed with cancer.
McBrayer played the last few weeks knowing she was in poor health, but he still managed to average 10 points in 29 minutes this season in the first eight games. He had four assists in 17 minutes in the first half Wednesday, and also hit a clutch three-pointer to make it a three-point game in the second half.
“I thought that shot he hit late was quite a moment,” Miles said. “I couldn’t help but think for a brief moment what that was about.”
The Queens native and co-captain tweeted Tuesday that he hoped to make her proud, while the Gophers shared his grief of losing a “very special lady,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said.
“It was heartbreaking to see,” a teary-eyed Pitino said Wednesday. “One of my favorite moms. She was a cool lady and raised a great kid. I don’t care about basketball. She raised a really, really good kid.”
The Gophers hugged McBrayer after the game to make sure he knew how much they were proud of him.
“I think everybody got really emotional at the end of the game,” senior Jordan Murphy said. “To do what he’s doing right now is next to impossible. I can’t even imagine what he’s going through … he’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played with.”
Other tributes appeared on the Big Ten Network and on Twitter.