After dropping three in a row, the Gophers won their second straight game Sunday night, defeating the North Dakota Fighting Hawks 79-56. The win brings the Gophers back to .500 on the year at 3-3.
Gabe Kalscheur led the team with 18 points, while Jarvis Omersa tallied career highs of 11 points and 9 rebounds. Four starters scored in double-figures and eight players got on the board as Minnesota shot 51% from the field (32-of-63) and 45% from the 3-point line (9-of-20).
Offense. On a night when Daniel Oturu battled foul trouble and struggled to finish, the rest of the team picked up the slack. The Gophers dominated UND on points in the paint and second-chance points (14-3). Marcus Carr had 6 assists and 0 turnovers. Carr, Willis, and Kalscheur combined to go 7-of-11 from downtown. A confident Alihan Demir showed up again, scoring 11 points on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting in 23 minutes. Willis, the only starter not in double digits, hit three threes. The bench contributed 16 points.
Gabe Kalscheur. It was Kalscheur who looked especially good. He came out on fire, scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting before the break, and his final tally of 18 marks the third straight game with at least 13 points after falling to crack double digits in the first three. Last year he was somewhat of an X factor, and if he keeps this up, he’ll be much more than that.
Jarvis Omersa. With Oturu in early foul trouble, Omersa was called on and stepped up, finishing the first half with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and a team-leading 3 assists on the way to those career highs. He was all over the place on both ends of the floor, drawing charges, following up misses, ripping away loose balls, sealing the lane on drives, showing off a lefty hook shot, and flashing his athleticism on a big alley-oop.
And the bad:
Free throws. Stop me if you’ve heard the before: the Gophers struggled to get to the line. Just three players attempted free throws – Oturu, Kalscheur, and Omersa – and the team had just nine attempts. On the plus side, they only missed three.
Defense. The game was closer than the 24-point margin of victory suggests, and it felt that way because of the Gophers’ defensive effort. They gave up too many open looks, especially from three, were late on rotations, and had a few clear miscommunications. No aspect was horrendous and they drew five charges, but they’re too talented to have that many issues against a team like UND.
Next up is a date with 6-0 DePaul the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a 2 p.m. tip – just in time for you to get hungry again and eat those leftovers on the couch.