Minnesota defeated St. Francis 72-54 at Williams Arena to move to 2-0 on the season. Jaden Henley led all Minnesota scorers with 16 points.
Look, again it’s a non-conference game against a garbage opponent. Credit to St. Francis for trying to full court press to slow down Minnesota for a bit, but this game was won the moment the whistle blew for the tip off. As a result, there are only two requirements for success: win and no one get injured. For the second straight game, Minnesota accomplished both tasks.
That is not to say that Minnesota did not make this game briefly interesting, choosing to give the Terriers a semblance of a chance with poor shooting in the first fifteen minutes of the game. St. Francis got it as close as 22-20 at the under five before Ta’Lon Cooper made a three point play which the Gophers followed up with a 12-6 run to close out the half. The Gophers cruised in the second half to the point that Dawson Garcia only 17 total minutes of game action because there was no reason for him to need to be on the floor. I do not want to say that I am being a bad blogger and phoning in this recap, so close your eyes and imagine a major mismatch of talent between two teams at the rec center. Now imagine that one of the players on the good team briefly makes a bunch of shots and crosses some unfortunate soul to break four ankles. I have described much of the second half of note in the Minnesota-St. Francis game.
Jaden Henley had a strong game tonight. Sure his opposition was over-matched, but I was impressed with the freshman’s shooting ability. He finished with 16 points and two rebounds, and seems to be the only Gopher who can consistently make free throws. We will choose to ignore the five turnovers because against real competition Henley will not be handling the ball extensively.
Joseph Ola-Joseph and Pharrel Payne both added 12 points and combined for nine rebounds. Ola-Joseph had the highlight of the night with a thunderous dunk in the second half. Payne for his part recognized that there was no one on St. Francis who could push him out of the lane, and finished 5-5 from the field and 2-2 from the line.
Because plus/minus is a hilarious stat, I am compelled to point out that Will Ramberg was +20 tonight.
The Gophers next take on DePaul on Monday night to start off the Gavitt Games.