Skip to main content

The good and not-so-good from the Gophers' 35-point win over Cleveland State

Minnesota isn't afraid to let 3-pointers fly this season.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers tipped off the 2019-2010 season Tuesday night, knocking off the Cleveland State Vikings 85-50 and showing off their best Golden State Warriors impression, playing fast and letting it fly all night.

The Gophers led wire-to-wire, jumping out to a 34-13 lead and taking a 38-21 lead into the tunnel at halftime. Sophomore transfer Marcus Carr led the team with 18 points and 8 assists, while sophomore Daniel Oturu had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks, showing off his touch on an efficient 7-of-8 shooting.

Check out a photo gallery from the game right here

All told, these were not your Gophers of years past. Here are two big takeaways from the performance:

Three-point shooting. The 3-point barrage seen in preseason scrimmages was not a mirage. The Gophers let it fly, with five straight threes to start the game and eight of ten shots before the first TV timeout coming from downtown. Twenty-nine of the Gophers’ 57 shots were from downtown, with 13 of their 31 made field goals being threes, the fourth-most in school history.

Reliant on starters. Pitino leaned heavily on his starting lineup, with all five starters playing at least 24 minutes and Carr (33), Kalscheur (33), and Willis (30) going well over. The starters accounted for 70 of the team’s 85 points, including 34 of 38 in the first half. Michael Hurt led the bench with 16 minutes, while Tre’ Williams (15), Jarvis Omersa (13), and Bryan Grenelee (8) also saw some time.

“Good win for our guys,” said Coach Richard Pitino. 

More specifically, here was the good:

The Marcus Carr show. Carr, the Pittsburgh transfer, was every bit as productive as advertised, finishing with 18 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds, though he shot just 5-of-13. He played 33 minutes, which might or might not be sustainable going forward.

The new guys can play. In addition to Carr, Payton Willis, Alihan Demir, and Tre’ Williams all showed they can be productive. Willis had 17 points and 8 assists, shooting 5-of-9 from downtown. Demir chipped in 10, showing off his 3-point range and putting the ball on the floor on a couple nice drives to the basket. Williams provided much-needed wing minutes off the bench, and also (have you noticed a theme here?) displayed a nice stroke from downtown.

Jarvis Omersa. Omsera finished with just 8 points and 4 rebounds, but was probably the highest-energy player of the night, diving for loose balls, closing out on shooters, and calling out screens on defense. His off-the-charts athleticism was on display during a second half put-back dunk, so stay tuned for the highlights to come.

…and the not-so-good:

Defense. Yes, they won by 25, but the defense was closer to present than swarming. They let Cleveland State get to the basket more than preferred, especially when Oturu was on the bench, and gave up a lot of good looks on threes. The Vikings shot just 3-of-19 from downtown, but better opponents will make Minnesota pay.

Aggressiveness. The Gophers hardly got to free-throw line, taking just 14 free throws total, many of which came in the second half with the game out of reach. On the plus-side, they made 10-of-14 at the charity stripe. 

Carelessness. Seventeen turnovers against a team that has won just 40 games the past four seasons won’t cut it moving forward. Oturu had 6 himself. Pitino mentioned the bigs putting the ball on the floor and the freshmen as contributing to the high total.

All told, the Gophers looked good, not great, but it’s the first game of the season with a mostly new rotation, so don’t panic. 

A 35-point win is still a 35-point win, no matter the competition. If Carr and Willis are creating open looks, and Oturu is patrolling the paint, and Carr, Willis, Kalscheur and Demir are hitting from downtown, this could be a fun year.

The Gophers next face Oklahoma on Saturday in Sioux Falls.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 4.17.31 PM

New preschool and daycare to be built in Eagan

The 12,600-square-foot building will be constructed on vacant land.

Screen Shot 2023-01-13 at 12.25.21 PM

Hamline University faculty urge President Fayneese Miller to resign

Fayneese Miller has served as president since 2015.

Police tape

Man in 40s dies in Minneapolis shooting

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.


Burnsville High School student killed in crash involving 15-year-old driver

The single-vehicle crash happened shortly after midnight.


Watch: Driver sent airborne after being struck by sliding car

The person was seen on MnDOT cameras tending to their vehicle prior to the crash.

Plow 2 (1)

Minneapolis shifting to one-sided street parking starting Thursday night

EMS vehicles, firetrucks and buses have struggled to drive on city streets due to snow.

Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 10.04.12 AM

Watch: 2 arrested north of Twin Cities after burglary, police pursuit

The suspects are seen on MnDOT cameras attempting to flee law enforcement.


Marcus Carr

Gophers crush Badgers in big border battle win at the Barn

Mathew Goldstein delivers the best-of-the-best from the huge victory.

Daniel Oturu

Oturu, Carr lead Gophers to win over Northwestern

The big man has nine double-doubles this season.

The good and bad from the Gophers' win over UND

The Gophers got back to .500 with a win over UND.


Big Ten tournament preview: Can the Gophers make a run?

Minnesota has struggled to close out games. Will that change in the conference tourney?

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.

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.