THE FACTS: It took an extra 5 minutes but the Gophers hung on to beat Princeton 87-80 in double overtime to win the Asheville Championship. Payton Willis with 29 points, 16 of them in the two overtime periods, led the Gophers along with Jamison Battle’s 24 points and 11 rebounds.
THE BOX SCORE: HERE
KEY STAT: The Gophers had 10 turnovers in the 2nd half after just 2 in the first 20 minutes. Leading virtually the entire second half, but a number of turnovers allowed Princeton to hang around and eventually send the game into overtime. A close second key stat was free throw %, which was just 45% in the second half. They left a lot of points on the floor while also allowing the Tigers plenty of additional opportunities.
THE TURNING POINT: Back-to-back driving layups by Willis at 2:17 and 1:37 in the second overtime were enough to seal things for the Gophers.
HOT: Willis was great in both overtime periods. He ended with 16 points in the combined overtime periods, not missing a field goal. He was 6/6 including a 3 pointer and 3/4 from the free throw line.
BAD MOVE: Not necessarily questioning the coaching decision but the Gophers lack of depth is concerning. Especially in a double OT game. Would be great to see even one more guy groomed to be able to contribute minutes throughout each game.
NOTABLE: These two teams absolutely dominated defensive rebounding tonight. The Gophers had 42 defensive rebounds and just 3 offensive. Princeton was similar with 36 defensive and 9 offensive. Both are impressive stats.
UP NEXT: Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne is next on the schedule for Friday night.