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Minnesota Basketball: Balanced Gophers slowly put away USC-Upstate 67-53

It was a slow burn, but it was a win for the Gophers

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina Upstate at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

A quick reaction to the Gopher hoops win over USC-Upstate Spartans.

THE FACTS: A balanced attack by the Gophers was enough to slowly put away the Spartans 67-53. It was a slow start but eventually, the offense pulled away to win by double-digits. Dawson Garcia led the team with 14 and then Elijah Hawkins, Josh, Ola-Joseph, and Mike Mitchell Jr all contributed 9 for Minnesota.

THE STAT: Does anybody remember just how bad the Gophers were at the free-throw line last year? They are better this year and went 16/19 today, a key to this afternoon’s win considering the rest of their shooting was not great.

TURNING POINT: 15 seconds into the 2nd half, the score was tied 31-31. Over the next couple of minutes, it was 5 Gopher free throws to extend the lead a little. The game remained close until a Josh Ola-Joseph dunk finally extended the lead to 10 with just under 9 minutes to go. From there it was all defense.

NOT: The entire team, with maybe Mitchell Jr as the lone exception, struggled to shoot today. As a group they were 5/23 from behind the arc.

GOOD MOVE: Dawson Garcia shaved his head. After watching the Missouri game, it was hard to determine what he was trying to do with that mop. Frankly...a good move.

UP NEXT: Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Tuesday. The Golden Lions come to the Barn for what is expected to be another win.