One day later, Charles Buggs big game is still surprising

Jace Frederick

The Gophers have had quite a few different players step up this season, so there was a cast of characters to pick from for guys to provide a lift to Minnesota on Tuesday night against No. 20 Iowa.

But no one, and I mean literally no one, thought that player would be Charles Buggs.

Probably not even Richard Pitino.

But it was Pitino threw Buggs in with the Gophers trailing Iowa in the first half.

"That was a guess," Pitino said.

It was a good one.

Buggs hit triple after triple on his way to 13 points, made plays with quick hands on the defensive end, and just seemed to provide a lift as Minnesota beat the rival Hawkeyes 95-89.

"Coach always kept on asking before the game, 'who's going to go to war with me?," Buggs said. "I wanted to help coach out with that. So that's why I decided to come and try to do my best on the court."

He did. 

Buggs has been in the midst of the process of getting up to a weight Pitino would like to see him at to play Big Ten basketball. Tuesday night marked just the seventh time he'd seen the court all season.

"Coach told me, 'be patient Charles,'" Buggs said. "[Pitino and my father] both tell me to be patient. It's just a system so we've got to work around it and just keep on pushing forward and working hard every day in practice and you can play one day."

"Yesterday was the day I got to, so I had to show out."

Pitino has talked about Buggs having the most potential of anyone on the team — something Buggs showed a glimpse of last night.

"He's still got a long way to go, but I'm excited about what he did tonight," Pitino said on Tuesday.

Osenieks Injury

Junior forward Oto Osenieks didn't get onto the court last night.

After the game, Osenieks said he'd been suffering from a left knee injury that's been limiting his time.

Osenieks said he had surgery on the knee seven years ago. It's been irritating him lately, making it painful to run and jump.

“I’ll get a shot [on Wednesday] and we’ll see how it acts,” he said. 

Pitino said Osenieks injury wasn't the reason Buggs got a chance on Tuesday night.

"[Buggs] has come to practice every single day and he's chipping away and he's chipping away and we were going to go with him regardless of Oto's injury," Pitino said. "He's just growing. He's getting better. We all thought 'he's moving along, Charles is moving along.'"

"And Oto is going the other way because physically he's hurting a little bit. You can tell."