Minnesota defeated Washington 68-66 in Vancouver thanks to a last second shot by Gabe Kalscheur. With the win, Minnesota is now 5-0 on the season and notches what should be a good win come March.
Minnesota was putrid in the first half. The Gophers shot just 26% from the field, committed multiple turnovers, and generally looked out of sorts against Washington’s zone defense and length. Oh, and somehow Minnesota was only down five at the break.
In the second half, Minnesota made multiple critical adjustments. Credit Richard Pitino for earning his paycheck today. He amended the game plan to get Minnesota to push tempo up court after baskets, which prevented Washington from getting set in the 2-3 zone. Pitino also drew up several plays early to get the ball to Jordan Murphy to make plays. Murphy had 18 points, all of them in the second half. Murphy also returned to his double double ways with 11 rebounds.
On defense, Pitino was masterful at switching from man to zone throughout the second half. Outside of Noah Dickerson and Jaylen Nowell, the Huskies had no other offensive options. With most of his starters in deep foul trouble, Pitino successfully called defenses
As my blog compatriot zipsofakron has noted, the Gophers have played badly for long stretches of games and are still 5-0. It’s possible that mean reversion will lead to a string of losses, but I’m currently betting that the team improves over the course of the season. Assuming that happens, there’s a decent floor from which to build.
Gabe Kalscheur hits big shots. First he made three critical free throws in a tight game down the stretch. Then he hit the game winner. (Yes, he probably traveled. No I don’t care. The Huskies had four free throw attempts on phantom calls. It evened out).
Amir Coffey rebounded from two mediocre games to play strong at the point guard position. No player on the team is better in transition, and the biggest hit that Minnesota has taken in his transition to PG has been losing his pace in transition. One of the advantages of Jelly playing competent minutes tonight was Coffey being able to move back to a slasher role. Coffey had 17 points on the night.
Make a damn free throw guys. 22-33 from the line is not good enough in any game.
I am still not able to purchase the awesome quarter zip that Richard Pitino is wearing. Through the grapevine, I have heard that this is in part because Minnesota doesn’t believe there is a market. They are wrong. At minimum there is a market of one. Me. I’m sure I am not alone. Since this is the season of giving, if you would also like the option of purchasing a dope quarter zip, harass Goldy’s Locker Room on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/wherever else. #QuarterZip4UStreet