Men’s basketball: Gophers earn first Big Ten win, 70-67, at Ohio State
Dawson Garcia finished with a career-high-tying 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting and 8 for 11 from the free-throw line.
After knocking on the door in the past two games, the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team broke through for their first Big Ten win of the season Thursday.
Minnesota held a lead over the 14-point favorite Buckeyes for the majority of the game, got clutch free throws and earned a 70-67 win at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The Gophers (7-8 overall) had four straight conference losses, including the last two by a combined five points to Wisconsin and in overtime Nebraska last week. The Buckeyes (10-6, 2-3) were ranked last week, but have now lost three Big Ten games.
The Gophers are the worst free-throw shooting team in the Big Ten and shot 6 of 13 to allow Ohio State to hang around. Brice Sensabaugh made both of his free throws to tie game 67-67 with eight seconds left.
Ta’Lon Cooper got the basket and was bailed out with a foul call on a clear block by Bruce Thornton. Cooper missed the first but made the second to make it 68-67. Dawson Garcia made both free throws to seal it with a second left.
Coach Ben Johnson said Wednesday that Garcia was like a quarterback who has had three offensive coordinators in three years.
After being in different systems at Marquette and North Carolina, Garcia has been getting used to bigger demands on the offensive end.
Garcia finished with a career-high-tying 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting and 8 for 11 from the free-throw line.
He scored 12 straight points to help Minnesota take a 31-23 lead with six minutes left in the half.
Ohio State had the No. 1 offense in the nation, according to KenPom. Minnesota helped force the Buckeyes into a more than five-minute drought in the second half.
The Gophers got out to a 19-10 lead and were up 37-35 at the half. Minnesota shot 56% from the field to 35% for the Buckeyes, but Ohio State had nine second-chance points to zero for Minnesota.
Buckeyes key big man Zed Key returned from a one-game absence due to a left shoulder sprain.
Minnesota big man Pharrell Payne dealt with an injury in the second half with Johnson asking him three times if he was OK to play. Each time Payne said yes. Johnson played Payne and his jump shot with five minutes left in the game gave Minnesota its biggest lead at 64-53.
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