Gophers host exhibition round two tonight

In the first half Monday, true freshman Devoe Joseph took the ball at the top of the key and looked right for Jamal Abu-Shamala. As Joseph let go of the ball, Shamala cut to the basket as part of the team’s motion offense. The ball bounced out of bounds. It was one of four turnovers for Joseph and 20 for the Gophers, in their narrow exhibition win over St. Cloud State. âÄúThose turnovers and steals can really take the wind out of your sails, and they hurt us a lot,âÄù coach Tubby Smith said. Joseph is one-of-five newcomers that played and players said they expected kinks in the offense early in the year. The five newcomers turned the ball over a combined nine times . âÄúAt this point, I know we don’t know each other very well,âÄù said sophomore point guard Al Nolen, Jr. , who led the team with six turnovers . âÄúAs I was turning the ball over and telling them where I wanted them to be.âÄù Smith runs a complex motion offense that caused problems for players last season, Smith’s first as Minnesota’s head coach. The Gophers averaged 14.2 turnovers per game last year, the second most in the Big Ten . Figuring out where to be at all times, and the rotation of the offensive plays, is the toughest part to get used to, junior forward Travis Busch said. âÄúThey’ll keep catching on as we go along,âÄù Busch said. âÄúIt’s a hard system to pick up right away. I struggled with it last year. I feel more comfortable this year; it’s just a progression.âÄù Williams to have MRI Senior center Jonathan Williams underwent a MRI exam Monday to see the severity of a groin injury he suffered earlier in the week, Smith said. The team hopes it isnâÄôt a hernia, Smith said. The Gophers listed Williams as the starter for MondayâÄôs game, but freshman Colton Iverson took the start and a bulk of the playing time. Iverson scored seven points, but had just three rebounds. Nolen, at 6-foot-1, led the team with seven . âÄúRebounding was the most disappointing part of the game,âÄù Smith said. âÄúIt was something we knew we needed to improve in this year, and we didn’t.âÄù The Gophers could be thinner underneath if Ralph Sampson III misses time. Smith said Sampson missed practice Wednesday because of a high fever.