Accurate shooting and staunch defense help Gophers snap losing streak

The Gophers broke their four game losing streak against Indiana Saturday due to clutch shooting and defensive play.

Freshman Gabe Kalscheur dribbles to the lane at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Image by Tony Saunders

Freshman Gabe Kalscheur dribbles to the lane at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

by David Mullen

Minnesota got back into the win column Saturday after beating the struggling Indiana Hoosiers 84-63. 

The win snapped the Gophers’ (17-9, 7-8 Big Ten) four-game losing streak that they had coming into the game. 

“Today we came out on fire, and we just wanted to come out and throw the first punch and just keep rolling,” said freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur. 

Although not everything was perfect for the Gophers, great shooting along with stellar defense helped set the path to victory. Minnesota shot 48 percent from the field and 54 percent from 3-point range.

Kalscheur and head coach Richard Pitino both said the team came out energized after Wednesday’s late loss to Nebraska and wanted to make a statement. 

“We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves, we didn’t whine, we didn’t complain. We just moved on,” Pitino said.

On top of their impressive overall shooting performance, the Gophers set a season high with 12 3-pointers in the game. Pitino said their first two baskets from long range built some momentum that carried throughout the game. 

“I thought that we took good [shots], and that snowballs — you get confidence,” Pitino said.

Kalscheur helped the Gophers with his 20 points while shooting an exceptional 70 percent. He was also 6 for 8 from behind the arc and caught fire in the opening minute of the second half. 

“I thought Kalscheur was fantastic, as a young guy shooting the ball from three,” said Indiana head coach Archie Miller. 

On the defensive end of the ball, the Gophers restricted the Hoosiers’ shooting and held them to 38 percent from the field and 12 percent from 3-point range.

“We’ve done a good job at guarding the 3-point line, and that’s important,” Pitino said.

The Gophers also contained Indiana’s freshman star Romeo Langford to only 10 points on six shots. He scored six points in the opening half, and was held to four points the rest of the game. 

“I thought [Amir Coffey] was terrific on him,” Pitino said. “I thought we really shrunk the court on drives with him … the game plan was to make him earn it.”

Langford’s 10 points is his third lowest offensive performance with the Hoosiers. He came into Saturday’s game averaging 17.5 points per game, which was sixth in the Big Ten. 

Minnesota returns to action Thursday as they host the Michigan Wolverines.