Marcus Carr Drove the Comeback In Columbus; Then Dropped Buckeyes With Last-Second Haymaker

Minnesota's Marcus Carr, right, makes a three-point shot over Ohio State's C.J. Walker in the final seconds to win their NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

With 7 seconds to play and the game tied 59-59, Marcus Carr slowed as he approached the top of the key… then DJ Carton must have blinked, because Marcus dribbled through his legs from right to left, then crossed back over unexpectedly, sending the Ohio State guard stumbling into a Gabe Kalscheur screen. Now, with a sliver of space before Gabe’s defender could close with help, Marcus rose up and hit the would-be game-winning three pointer to seal a 62-59 win, and season sweep over Ohio State.

Carr has had some up-and-down moments in his short career with the Maroon and Gold. There wasn’t much down to his game on Thursday, though. The way he carried the Gophers down the stretch on Thursday, hitting the game winning shot and also slashing to the hoop (with his best Bobby Jackson impression) and tying the game, just before that, too. It was his most clutch performance yet.

This season, Marcus has been the Robin to Oturu’s Batman, but roles were reversed vs Ohio State. He finished the game with 21 points and 7 rebounds.  Oturu, for the second straight game, started off very slow. He did give the gophers a boost in the second half though, finishing with a respectful 11 points and 6 rebounds.

Ohio State has been reeling of late, and needed this one just as bad as the Gophers did.  Early in the second half the Buckeyes got their lead up to as much as 11, but it didn’t last long. The Gophers’ defense buckled down and strung a few stops together. A lead that was once double-digits, stayed within a possession or two for most of the second half.  Kyle Young gave OSU an offensive lift with 14 points and was responsible for some crucial buckets down the stretch, but he wouldn’t be enough. Dwyane Washington and CJ Walker were the other two Buckeye players in double figures, with 14 and 12.

Gabe Kalscheur pitched in a decent night of his own, with 13 points, but everything circles back to Marcus Carr. His ability to play 40 minutes a night as the main ball-handler, while being hounded by multiple defenders on almost every possession, is incredible. The guy RARELY runs out of fuel. He really is the only guy on this roster who has the wiggle into the lane consistently, even though teams are making that a tougher task every game.  The biggest stat that sticks out, are the 4 team turnovers in a hostile road environment, which has been a big area of concern for Minnesota, coming in.

“It was awesome” Pitino said in his post game presser.

“YES IT WAS Richard…. that was awesome”…… (in my best Tommy Boy voice)

via GIPHY

This win was crucial for the Gophers, who coming into the game were 0-7 in true road games on the season.  Road victories go a long way in the eyes of the NCAA committee, and as it stands right now, this is a Q1 road win. The Gophers moved to 5-4 in the conference, 11-8 overall and have a HUGE test vs Michigan State on Sunday, back at Williams Arena, which has been their comfy (and underrated) blanket, since starting conference play….

Can this team keep it going on Sunday vs the 11th ranked Spartans? Well, Pitino knows he just needs to turn the key and let this Carr drive itself.

Jeff Goudy | Minnesota Sports Fan