With all of the insanity surrounding the Minnesota sports landscape over the last couple days, it’s been very easy to lose track of the Gopher basketball team.
All eyes were on them tonight at The Barn though. With a win over our overly-family-friendly neighbors to the East, the Gophers would be able to pocket another much-needed Q1-ish victory.
With a loss though, they’d be 22 games into the season, with a 11-11 record. That’s a lot of wins that still need to pile up with time running out.
Fortunately, none of those thoughts really had to cross anyone’s mind once the game started. The Gophers jumped out to a lead early and never looked back. They were shooting like I dreamed they would when the season started.
Hell, Gabe Kalscheur even rose from the dead and went 3-5 from deep (before missing his next 3, sshhhhh), finishing with 11 points and playing lock down defense on Brad Davison.
Payton Willis is an absolute game changer, when on the floor and feeling healthy. In his return, he led the team with 21 points. He might be even more important to this lineup than previously thought, especially if Gabe is going to continue riding the struggle bus.
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) February 6, 2020
The clear difference on offense, from the very beginning of this game, was the Gophers desperate need to get into the lane and create offense from there. Wisconsin wasn’t putting up much of a fight and we definitely came into the game with that being the focus.
Dan Oturu scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He also got his 3rd foul before we reached the 18-minute mark of the 2nd half.
Pitino rolled with him in foul trouble and it paid off. He would eventually foul out but the game was far out of reach by then.
Marcus Carr just plays so much better when he doesn’t need to take over the game. He finished with 12 points of his own, along with 9 rebounds and 10 dimes, just missing out on a triple-double.
Ope, just sneak right past ya there. pic.twitter.com/LfttC94hOT— Minnesota Men’s Basketball (@GopherMBB) February 6, 2020
It comes down to outside shooting with this team. If they can bomb at an average level, they are going to win a lot of games. If they get hot, they can beat anyone.
And tonight, that anyone was Bucky Badger… my favorite opponent to beat the shit out of.
Oh, and another positive…. Brad Davison didn’t come after anyone’s testicles. Whenever you can get through a game against him, without that happening, it’s a win.
The Gophers move to 12-10 and will travel to Penn State on Saturday before waiting an entire week to host Iowa the following Sunday.
🚨 Final Stats 🚨— Minnesota Men's Basketball (@GopherMBB) February 6, 2020
Payton | 21pts (career-high), 5reb, 2stl
Dan | 17pts, 14reb, 4blk
Carr | 12pts, 9reb, 10ast
Gabe | 11pts, 3reb
Gophers | A very satisfying 'W'
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan