Minnesota handled Clemson at Williams Arena by a score 78-60. The Gophers led from start to finish. Marcus Carr led all scorers with 24.
The Gophers desperately needed a game like tonight. After losing four very winnable games against high major teams, a loss to a (bad) Clemson team would have been close to killer going forward. Instead, Minnesota held home court thanks to great performances from Marcus Carr and Daniel Oturu. The Gophers started the second half up six points and promptly blitzed Clemson for 41 second half points. That number is also less than it would be if Pitino had not let off the gas. Minnesota was efficient from the field and had a decent percentage from the three point line. Equally beneficial, the Gophers shot above 70% from the free throw line. Yes, that is damning with faint praise, but baby steps are still steps.
Tonight was the game that fans were hoping to see out of Carr. After a frankly disappointing performance against DePaul, Carr came out firing tonight. He had a Nate Mason like point guard performance, and Richard Pitino’s offense needs a Nate Mason like point guard. Carr was 8-16 from the field (2-7 from distance), 6-7 from the foul line, and had nine assists to just two turnovers. Many of those baskets came from drives in the paint.
Thanks to Carr’s great play, you might be forgiven for thinking that Daniel Oturu was not a target. You would be wrong. Oturu continued his All Big Ten performance with 21 points on 9-11 shooting. He did much of that work with four fouls.
Gabe Kalscheur had 15 points on 3-5 shooting from distance. One of those three pointers was a lovely shot off a screen that required Kalscheur to spin his whole body.
Jarvis Omersa is good at dunking.
Bryan Greenlee picked up a steal and a score. The spring signing has looked strong on the defensive end of the floor in limited minutes, exactly what you want out of a backup point guard.