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Minnesota gets second road win of the year at Penn State

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota defeated Penn State 83-74 in Happy Valley to get their second conference road win of the season. The Gophers improve to 13-7 overall and 4-5 in conference play after rallying from a 16 point deficit in the second half. Dawson Garcia led all scorers with 22 points.

First off, we apologize for the slight tardiness of this recap. Since anyone who wants to know the specifics has likely checked a newspaper, I want to focus on a few “things we learned” points from Saturday’s game.

It’s easy to win games when you make shots

23-26 from the free throw line overall. Nearly 60% from the field. Don’t look at the three point shooting (yikes nightmare 4-14), but do look at it in the second half (3-7 reasonable, respectable). The Gophers scored 52 points in the second half because they by and large found high percentage shots close to the basket.

My kingdom for a complete 40 minutes

As good as the Gophers were in the second half, they were that bad in the first half. I nearly turned the game off to go do other things at halftime. #LiveYourBestLifeUStreet

The Gophers have the ability to play with anyone in conference and probably the country at their best. They also have the ability to lose to the worst teams in the country at their worst. Frustratingly, we often see both versions of the team in the same game. While spotting a team a handicap might be fun in scramble golf, the Gophers have to stop doing that in order to make any kind of post-season run.

Shockingly “Give the Ball to your best player” is a good strategy

Dawson Garcia is just straight up better than every other player on the floor. In situations where the initial actions fail and the Gophers move into an iso set, he should be the player getting the ball. Honestly, it doesn’t matter exactly where on the court, though high key seems to be a preference of his for driving purposes.

Cam Christie continues his development

While he’s never committed a foul based on his reactions to officials, Christie has otherwise well adapted to the college game. I’m very excited to see his potential for the rest of the season and next. 17 points in 37 minutes of action along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists from the combo guard spot is excellent.

Joshua Ola-Joseph should play more

That’s it. That’s the takeaway.

Minnesota next takes on Northwestern at Williams Arena this saturday, February 3rd.