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Minnesota Gopher Basketball defeats Utah 78-69 to move to 2-0

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New and old Gophers lead Minnesota to a balanced win

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Gopher hoops moved to 2-0 with a nice win over their first Power 5 opponent of the season. The Utah Utes came to Minneapolis on Monday and Minnesota sent them home with a 78-69 loss.

Early in the first half the Utes held an 18-14 advantage but the Gophers went on a 10-0 run and never really looked back. As you can see from the KenPom Win probability graph, even when they trailed they were still likely to win and after the run, Minnesota remained in control throughout.

This was a game where your familiar Gophers and your new favorites combined to slowly snuff out the Utes. Jordan Murphy recorded yet another double-double, this time with 17 rebounds to go along with this 11 points. But offensively it was Gabe Kalscheur’s night as the freshman went 5/6 from three and led all scorers with 19 points. Dupree McBrayer and Amir Coffey each had 6 assists while also scoring 11 and 14 points respectively. And freshman Daniel Oturu was the other double-digit scorer with 13 points along with 4 blocked shots.

All five starters were in double-figures and your three upper classmen all had 5 assists or more.

It was a very encouraging game for this Gopher squad and one can start to see that this team is one that can be very good this year. This team is very different from recent years and the additions of Kalscheur and Oturu are very significant.

  • The way this team’s defensive schemes are designed, you need a big man who can defend the rim, Oturu is that guy.
  • This offense is so much more open for guys like Coffey and McBrayer to get to the rim when there is a shooter like Kalscheur on the perimeter that teams have to account for.
  • Jordan Murphy has more room to operate when he can find Otutu for easy dunks when he is double-teamed.
  • Guys like Washington and Omersa (and eventually Curry) are starting caliber and give Pitino depth like he hasn’t had since he’s been here.

Right now, as this roster is currently constructed, this team has many complimentary pieces and it is going to be a fun season. Last night was one win over a decent team and up next is another good test against a Big 12 an SEC team.

The Gophers head to Vancouver on Sunday to face Texas A&M followed by Santa Clara and Washington early next week.