Skip to main content

Gophers take down Clemson in Big Ten-ACC Challenge

Marcus Carr finished with 24 points and nine assists.

The Gophers finally played up to their potential, never trailing on the way to a convincing 78-60 victory over the Clemson Tigers in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. It’s their first win in the annual event since 2016, and gets them back to .500 on the year at 4-4.

Sophomore Marus Carr had a career-high 24 points to go along with 9 assists, while sophomore Daniel Oturu added 21 points and 4 blocks.

Oturu started the night altering a shot on Clemson’s first possession, running the floor, and throwing down a two-handed dunk at the other end as the Gophers jumped out to a 15-4 lead. The Tigers cut the gap to six at halftime, but the Gophers started the second half on 13-3 run and pulled away, stretching the lead as high as 22.

“Great win for our guys,” said coach Richard Pitino. He wasn’t wrong. The highlights:

Marcus Carr. After a few quiet games Carr showed off for the national TV audience, totaling 24 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and just 2 turnovers in 36 minutes. He had a number of crafty finishes at the rim and good passes leading to open looks, which finally fell, while limiting his turnovers. And he hit his free throws, going 6-7 at the line.

“I’m not really thinking about the statistical impact, just thinking about winning the game,” said Carr. 

Defense. Clemson leading scorer Tevin Mack, who came in averaging 15 points on 53% shooting, was held to just two points on four field goal attempts. 

“Mack was their strength, so we talked about taking him out of the game – our 3s and 4s did a terrific job on him,” said Pitino, mentioning he employed Bill Belichick’s strategy of focusing on your strengths and stopping the other team’s.

The Tigers didn’t shoot terribly, but many of their looks were contested and they finished just 2-11 from three. The Gophers also won the turnover battle and turned them into buckets, racking up 16 points off of turnovers and 17 fast break points.

Shooting. For a nice change of pace, the Gophers hit their shots. They were a season-high 54% from the field on 28-52 shooting, going 15-27 in the second half, including 5-12 from distance. Carr (8-16), Oturu (9-11), and Gabe Kalscheur (4-7 for 15 points) all looked great. And the team went 14-19 from the fre- throw line after missing eleven on Friday against DePaul.

Bench play. The bench was called upon early with Oturu, Carr, and Kalscheur all in first half foul trouble, and they were up to the task. Ten players saw the court before the break including freshmen BJ Greenlee, who saw less than one minute of action against DePaul, and Sam Freeman, who had just six minutes total previously. No one lit up the box score, but they kept the team afloat. Pitino praised the bench, especially Michal Hurt, after the game.

Frankly, there wasn’t a ton of bad in the game. The Gophers could’ve closed out a little tighter on Clemson’s shooters and missed a few rotations, but the team played well together, looking solid if not spectacular on both ends of the floor and limiting their mistakes to handily defeat a 5-2 Clemson team that nearly knocked off undefeated, top-20 ranked Colorado in their last game.

“It’s a good boost for us,” said Oturu. “It should give our team some confidence going into a Big Ten game.”

That game will come in one week when the Gophers travel to Iowa City for the Big Ten opener. They take on the Hawkeyes next Monday from Carver at 7 p.m.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-27 at 9.15.45 PM

Buckeyes crash the glass, fend off Gophers

E.J. Liddell dominated in the paint to help No. 16 Ohio State.

nicolas blouin flickr fire hose

Fire departments decry drivers running over hoses, endangering crews

It happened in two separate Northland cities this week.

All Energy Solar - Bringing Panels to Roof

All Energy Solar reaches growth milestones with higher goals yet for 2022

Minnesota solar company continues to thrive through building a strong workforce

Royal Canadian Mounted Police maintoba crossing crop

Authorities ID family found frozen to death at MN-Canada border

They're still trying to unravel how they got there and who might have helped them.

covid

Mayo Clinic specialist: 'The omicron surge is not over'

Experts expect a rapid decline over the next month followed a period of calm.

police lights

Charges: Man in stolen Jeep leads police on 110 mph chase

He crashed into a light post near the Capitol and then fled on foot, the complaint says.

kua dog go fund me

Puppy in back of stolen Audi found, reunited with owner

The 4 1/2-month-old bullmastiff had been missing more than a week.

Fuzzy Gerdes Flickr Franks Diner Kenosha

WI's best 'hole-in-the-wall' diner is Guy Fieri-approved

Come for the "garbage pile," stay for ... even more breakfast food.

FKISmwPWUAYZJW6

Minnesota's pre-pro women's soccer team unveils name, logo

The new name and look was unveiled after community owners voted on a winner.

fentanyl DEA

21 people charged in connection to drug trafficking in northern MN

Police say the organization sold more than 10 pounds of heroin and fentanyl in northern Minnesota.

Band Box Diner Courtney Mault Flickr

MN's 'best hole-in-the-wall diner' is, sadly, currently closed

MSN recently published its pick for best diner in each state.

Related

Richard Pitino

Iowa rallies late, sends Gophers to costly home loss

The Hawkeyes scored the final 11 points of the game.

Daniel Oturu

Oturu, Carr lead Gophers to win over Northwestern

The big man has nine double-doubles this season.

Richard Pitino

Gophers fall in Big Ten road test against Rutgers

It was an ugly Sunday in New Jersey for Minnesota.

Payton Willis and Marcus Carr

Marcus Carr the hero as Gophers win at Ohio State

Carr hit the winning shot with 3.3 seconds to go.

Daniel Oturu's 20-20 game leads Gophers over FIU

Oturu, Gabe Kalscheur and Marcus Carr were tremendous in the victory.

Marcus Carr

Gophers buckle down for big win over Penn State

Bring Me The News' Mathew Goldstein has the details.

Image from iOS

Marcus Carr scores 35 as Gophers stun No. 3 Ohio State

A huge win for the Gophers, who improved to 5-5 on the season.

Richard Pitino

What it'll take for the Gophers to reach the NCAA tournament

Close out the regular season strong and then make a run in the Big Ten tournament.