Minnesota’s men’s basketball senior guard Aaron Robinson took only three shots the entire game Friday.
But he made them count.
Robinson hit three three-pointers in as many minutes early in the second half of the Gophers’ 81-58 triumph over St. Cloud State at Williams Arena.
Robinson’s threes helped Minnesota break what had been a fairly sloppy game wide open. The two teams had 23 combined turnovers in the first half, leading to a 33-26 Gophers advantage at the break.
But the Gophers came out of the locker room on fire, not missing a shot from the field for more than 10 minutes.
During that time, Minnesota went on a 34-11 run while shooting an incredible 13-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-5 from three-point range.
Robinson said there was more to it than just getting hot offensively, though.
“We didn’t play to our best potential in the first half, but we knew we could come out and take over if we did the little things,” Robinson said. “We started playing tougher defense, diving on the floor, taking care of the ball and went on that big run.”
On the other hand, Huskies coach Kevin Schlagel said Robinson’s shooting demoralized his Division II team.
“They hit the three three’s in the corner, and you knew we were in trouble then,” Schlagel said. “Once they started hitting shots in the second half, it was hard to stay in it.”
Either way, by the time the run was over, the Gophers led 67-37 and comfortably rested their starters with their second exhibition win in hand.
Senior center Jeff Hagen didn’t miss a shot all night, going 4-for-4 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line as he led the Gophers in scoring for the second-straight game with 14 points.
Junior wing Vincent Grier and freshman center Spencer Tollackson also scored in double digits with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
But junior forward J’son Stamper’s debut had to be the most impressive individual performance of the night.
The junior college transfer scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds – two of them on the offensive end that led to easy put-backs.
And he did all of this in just 12 minutes of action because of still-lingering knee problems.
With Stamper’s solid debut and a defensive effort that held the Huskies to 27-percent shooting in the second half, Gophers coach Dan Monson said he was relatively pleased with the team’s progress.
“I’m happy that we didn’t freak out in the first half when it was a three- or four-point game,” Monson said. “We played hard and did the little things. We hung through the turnovers and missed shots with our defense.”