Gophers defeat Southern in ugly fashion

The Gophers (6-4) defeated Southern 63-48 Thursday night at Williams Arena despite sloppy play.

John Hageman

With another clumsy victory, the Gophers continue to put the “W” in sloppy.

The Gophers (6-4) defeated Southern 63-48 Thursday night at Williams Arena despite accumulating 23 turnovers. The Jaguars (2-3), a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference that came into the matchup shooting 31 percent from the field, never led in the game, but Minneosta head coach Pam Borton wasn’t content with the win.

“We were glad to come out of that performance with a win,” Borton said. “These types of games are supposed to be fun, there supposed to give our some of younger players some experience and help them develop for Big Ten play…but it’s a win.”

The Gophers jumped out to an early 15-4 lead thanks to sluggish play by Southern. But the Jaguars came back to within one near halftime by forcing a slew of Minnesota miscues. A three-pointer and a intercepted pass for a layup from senior China Antoine gave the Gophers some semblance of momentum heading into halftime with a 34-26 lead. Sophomore Leah Cotton kept the Gophers afloat with 19 points off the bench in the first act.

The Gophers didn’t get any more careful with the ball in the second half, but compensated with more consistent shooting and clutch free throws. Cotton went to the line 16 times, six more attempts than Southern, and finished with a career-high 26 points.

Turnovers continue to be a problem for the Gophers. They came into Thursday with the Big Ten’s second-worst turnover margin at minus-4. Thanks to those giveaways Southern attempted 61 shots from the floor, but luckily for the Gophers, they only made 19 of them, something that won’t happen against more formidable foes.

The Gophers will look to eliminate those mishaps when they host Cal Poly Sunday at 2 p.m. at Williams Arena.