Coming off a blowout loss in Madison earlier this week, the #21 Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team took to the Williams Arena hardwood on Sunday vs the #25 Ohio State Buckeyes, looking to bounce back and keep their top-25 ranking.
The first half was a back and forth endeavor but Pitino’s Golden Gophers felt in control most of the way. He rode transfers Both Gach and Liam Robbins to a 43-37 halftime lead, while Marcus Carr played offensive decoy.
Halftime Stats ⤵️— Minnesota Men’s Basketball (@GopherMBB) January 3, 2021
Robbins | 16pts, 5reb, 4blk
Mashburn | 8pts
Kalscheur | 7pts, 3reb, 2ast https://t.co/XASG9MDwIs
Runaway 2nd Half
But then the scoreboard light flipped to the 2nd half and the Minnesota Gophers started to run away from the Buckeyes. First, Gabe Kalscheur got hot, which is a scary thought for any Big Ten teams who were watching.
Liam Robbins continued to play his best game of the season, posting his first double-double of his Gopher career. Oh, and Marcus Carr decided to contribute his share of points too.
You can’t be overshadowed by all of your teammates in a game where Andy Kats is posting graphics with you as his 1st Team All Big Ten PG.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 3, 2021
The maroon and gold quickly shot out to a 15-20 point lead and never looked back. The Buckeyes were left to watch as five Gophers scored in double-figures, burying them from the back and front court alike.
The Real Story
This is what Minnesota can do every night out if they get better shooting from Gabe Kalscheur and Both Gach. In four Big Ten games entering this one, Gophers wings were shooting under 20 percent from deep and under 30% from the field.
Tonight, Gabe and Both combined to shoot 9/19 from the floor and 5/11 from three. Even with Carr going 3/12, those two allowed Robbins plenty of room down low, where he finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The Minnesota Gophers went 2-1 on the week vs three ranked opponents. That should push them further up the AP Poll. The NET rankings also release on Monday, for the first time in the 2020-21 season.
The Gophers now have three top-25 matchups remaining in their most difficult seven-game stretch of the year. Two will take place this week and the first is @ Michigan on Wednesday.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan