THE FACTS: In an ugly Thanksgiving Eve affair, Minnesota grinded a far inferior opponent down by making just a few more shots and sitting on a relatively comfortable lead throughout the second half. Peyton Willis had two scoring streaks, one in each half, to propel an otherwise stagnant offense past an abominable offensive performance from the visiting squad. He finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals to lead an otherwise lethargic Gopher squad to victory.
THE BOX SCORE: HERE
KEY STAT: Jacksonville shot 31.7% (19-60) from the floor. The Gopher defense was, at times, suffocating, but the Dolphins missed their fair share of open looks. Their inability to string together makes was the difference in the game and allowed Minnesota to play rather casually throughout the second half.
THE TURNING POINT: Battle had two sweet shots, a fade away jumper in the key and a step back fade away three-pointer from the deep corner, early in the second half to propel the Gophers’ offense into coasting mode. The game was never really in doubt after that despite both teams trying their best to offend all onlookers.
HOT: Sean Sutherlin had made 12 consecutive attempts form the field, including his first five tonight to spark the bench scoring. He finished with 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting and was able to provide offense during sleepy portions of the proceedings to keep Jacksonville at arms length. He continues to change the pace and complexion of the game coming off the bench.
BAD MOVE: Any time either team let the ball go from behind the three-point line. The two squads combined to shoot 5-34 from three and a lot of the looks for either side weren’t even close. Jacksonville didn’t make a three pointer, despite 14 attempts, until the final minute of the game when the result was no longer in doubt. It was a brick-laying that would have made the 2020-2021 squad proud.
UP NEXT: The Gophers hit the road to play the Pittsburgh Panthers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at 6 PM CT on ESPNU on Tuesday the 30th.