Carter, Westbrook break out for Gophers in exhibition win

stbridgesymposium

Matt Mead

stbridgesymposium

This is how Minnesota wants to play. The Gophers grabbed 36 rebounds, forced 23 turnovers and scored 28 points off turnovers in their 92-62 exhibition win over Northern Stateon Thursday. It was the second of two exhibition games for the Gophers, who have a week off before opening the regular season November 14. “That’s definitely the style of basketball we want to play,” forward Paul Carter said. “As a young team, we love to run up and down, especially with big guys like Ralph [Sampson III] and Colton [Iverson] who run the floor pretty well.” Junior Lawrence Westbrook led the Gophers with 19 points, but Carter was the standout of the game, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a block. Covered by Kevin Ratzsch, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Player of the Year, Carter shot 6-of-10 from the floor, including two three-pointers. “He’s our emotional and spiritual leader, and the players respect that” coach Tubby Smith said of Carter. “People respect you more when you’re playing for the right things. He’s been key to the maturity of this team.” A junior college transfer, Carter shot just 2-of-7 from the floor against St. Cloud State on Monday. He was one of the team’s five newcomers that struggled in that game, but the newcomers combined for 49 points Thursday. True freshman center Ralph Sampson III had 12 points and South Dakota-native — Northern State is located in Aberdeen, S.D. âÄì Colton Iverson had six. Freshman Devoe Joseph didn’t have a basket for nearly the first 7/8 of the game, but scored 14 points in the final 6:01, a span in which he didn’t miss a field goal or a free throw. “We saw what Devoe can do when he can relax and shoot the ball,” Smith said. “Moving him to the two guard alongside Al [Nolen Jr.] really have him some momentum.” The Gophers showed signs of improvement on defense, too, after allowing 80 points to St. Cloud State. In fact, they gave up just 13 more points to Northern State than they did in the first half to St. Cloud State. For some perspective, Northern State finished 2nd in the NSIC last year, while St. Cloud State finished 13th. Ratzsch led all scorers with 20 points. Travis Busch, Kevin Payton and Jamal Abu-Shamala rotated coverage of him, but the 6-foot-7 forward was a tough task, scoring points inside and using a strong outside jumper. “There’s been a huge improvement since we all got together,” said Nolen, who had nine points and seven steals. “It takes certain people longer to come out of their shells, but I think everybody’s coming along well.”