by: Daniel House
Photo: University of Minnesota
This season, there were many nights where the Gophers couldn’t make any shots. During Sunday’s game at Williams Arena, the entire team couldn’t miss. The Gophers set a school record with 18 made 3-pointers in a 107-75 win over Nebraska. Minnesota shot a blistering 57 percent and breezed past the Huskers on Senior Day.
Guard Gabe Kalscheur scored 26 points and tied a school record with eight made 3-pointers. Throughout the day, Kalscheur set his feet and confidently shot the ball in rhythm. Senior Alihan Demir also put together his best performance in maroon and gold. Demir was dynamic in the post and added 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Gophers had four players in double figures and blew past a depleted Nebraska team.
On Saturday, Huskers head coach Fred Hoiberg announced guards Dachon Burke and Cam Mack were suspended indefinitely. Without the team’s second and third-leading scorers, the Huskers relied upon seven scholarship players, including four freshmen.
In the opening minutes, Nebraska went on an early 6-0 run and aggressively attacked in transition. Haanif Cheatham drilled a mid-range jumper and pulled up for a tough baseline runner. The Gophers quickly responded with a pair of 3-pointers from Michael Hurt and Marcus Carr. Minnesota went on a 4-for-5 shooting streak and grabbed an early three-point advantage. Early in the half, Nebraska hit shots from downtown and won on the offensive glass. Kevin Cross drained a 3-pointer and tied the game at 15 with 13 minutes left in the first half.
Right away, Hoiberg doubled Oturu in the post and limited his offensive production. Due to all of these dedicated resources, opportunities and space were created for the Gophers. Payton Willis made a pair of deep treys and the Gophers snatched a 27-22 lead. In the first half, Minnesota hit seven of its 13 attempts from downtown.
Not only that, but Demir executed several smooth moves in the post. He aggressively attacked off the dribble and displayed his efficient footwork. This was the best game Demir has played in almost two months. He finished the afternoon with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Late in the first half, the Gophers went on an 8-2 run and extended their lead to 12 points. All day, Marcus Carr’s dribble penetration put stress on the Huskers’ defense. He scored 18 points, but also dished 11 assists to his teammates. Carr’s ability to attack and create shots are key aspects of Minnesota’s offense.
Despite allowing nine offensive rebounds and 11 second-chance points, Minnesota shot 63 percent and took a 15-point advantage into halftime. Out of the break, Demir continued his dominance and scored each of Minnesota’s first three second half shots. He stole the ball, broke free and made an easy layup in transition. During the same sequence, Demir crashed the offensive glass and muscled through contact. The Gophers’ lead stretched to 35 points behind a school-record 18 made 3-pointers. Kalscheur confidently came off screens, set his feet and drained seven second half treys. He benefited from excellent court spacing and ball movement. The Gophers shared the basketball and tallied 32 assists on 41 made shots. In 20 minutes of action, Michael Hurt had seven assists and was one of six Minnesota players with double-digit efficiency metrics.
This was the best shooting performance we’ve seen from Kalscheur in months. The Gophers are hoping this hot shooting will carry over into Big Ten Tournament play on Wednesday. Collectively, there is no doubt this was one of Minnesota's best offensive outputs of the season.
The Gophers ended the regular season with an 8-12 conference record. Now, Minnesota will play its first Big Ten Tournament game on Wednesday against Northwestern. Tip is set for 5 p.m. CT from Indianapolis.
Tag(s): Gopher Basketball