Minnesota beat NJIT at Williams Arena 74-68. With the win, the Gophers are 8-1 on the season. Akeem Springs led all scorers with 19. Four Gophers finished in double figures on the night.
Execution wise, this was Minnesota’s worst game of the season. Tonight was so bad we did not even put up a gamethread. Tonight would have probably cracked the top 10 of worst games played last year.
- The Gophers went without a field goal from 6:30 of the last nine minutes of the game.
- NJIT was leading the game late into the second half despite being outmatched at every position on the floor.
- Minnesota played with little energy on the offensive end. The Gophers shot 41% from the field, and were lucky that three point shooting was uncharacteristically good to come away with the victory.
- It was unclear for much of the game what the Gophers were trying to do on offense. Despite a size advantage, the Gophers kept the game on the perimeter. Credit NJIT for a good game plan, but much of tonight seemed to have been the result of Minnesota not taking their opponent seriously.
Fortunately Nate Mason and Akeem Springs both came to play tonight. Mason made critical shots throughout the game. If anything, he was not aggressive enough on the offensive side of the floor. Mason excels at getting his defender off balance to create space for a shot. It was a tad frustrating when the Gophers were having difficulty getting any traction on offense that he did not just take over for a bit. Mason only had three assists on the night, though much of that can be blamed on other players not making shots off passes.
Springs had an efficient 19 points from the field along with seven rebounds and an assist. Tonight was a veteran performance from the veteran brought in to provide them. With McBrayer struggling a bit on the offensive end, Springs stepped to provide key minutes for the Gophers. Nights like tonight show his ability to help the team, and he will probably see more minutes going forward.
Reggie Lynch had five blocks on the night to go along with nine points and seven rebounds. He remains a difference maker on the defensive end, and bothered a lot of shots throughout the game. Unfortunately, a few of his lay up attempts rolled out otherwise he would have been in easy double digits for points.
Michael Hurt saw two minutes of action and picked up two fouls. The first one was a weak call. Hurt has yet to crack the rotation, but hopefully he will be given more of an opportunity during the non conference.
For that matter, the rest of the bench will hopefully get more opportunities to play. Tonight should have been a game where the bench saw heavy minutes because Minnesota should have blown out NJIT. Pitino will be frustrated with his team, and I believe the team will be frustrated with their effort.
The Home warm ups are nowhere near as fire as the Gold Away ones.