Minnesota men’s basketball had its final preseason tuneup Monday night at Williams Arena, as the Gophers defeated Southwest Minnesota State in exhibition action, 73-48.
All nine Gophers players who saw first-half minutes scored, as Minnesota took a 37-26 lead at the half. Payton Willis and Daniel Oturu each scored eight points to lead the Gophers in the opening 20 minutes, while Marcus Carr added six points and four assists.
Willis finished the game with a team-high 14 points to go with six assists and four rebounds, while Oturu recorded a double-double with 12 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and three steals. Carr wound up with 12 points and six assists, and Gabe Kalscheurhad 11 points for the Gophers.
Kenny Byers paced SMSU with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Grant Kramer was the other Mustangs player in double figures with 10 points.
In addition to this evening’s exhibition win versus SMSU, Minnesota posted a 77-68 victory in a closed scrimmage at Iowa State on Oct. 19.
The Gophers’ 11-0 run over nearly four minutes midway through the first half provided separation from a tight contest early on. During that span, Willis accounted for five points, one assist and a steal. After starting 4-of-16 from the field, the Gophers connected on six of their next seven field goal attempts
“We didn’t really run anything, so the movement may not have been as great as desired, but I think we will shoot a lot of threes. I think we are a pretty good three-point shooting team.” – Richard Pitino, on the team’s offense tonight
The Gophers officially lift the lid on the 2019-20 season next Tuesday, November 5, hosting Cleveland State at 7 p.m. at Williams Arena.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)