Carr leads Gophers to second straight win

Marcus Carr scored a game-leading 28 points with 22 coming in the first half to boost Gophers over the Lions.

Guard+Marcus+Carr+shoots+through+the+opponents+at+Williams+Arena+on+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+28.

Nur B. Adam

Guard Marcus Carr shoots through the opponents at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

AJ Condon, Sports Reporter

The Gophers’ men’s basketball team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 88-73 win over Loyola Marymount Saturday. The Lions committed 19 turnovers and didn’t take advantage of the Gophers’ slow start.

The start of the game wasn’t too favorable for the Gophers. Junior Liam Robbins again found himself in foul trouble early and was forced to see the bench for most of the first half. The Gophers were forcing turnovers and sloppy play, but they weren’t getting favorable shots.

Just six minutes into the game, the Gophers were already in the bonus. Courtesy of LMU committing offensive fouls, the game didn’t get too out of reach for the Gophers. With enough time to shake off the cobwebs, the Gophers offense started to click.

Coming off a 35-point performance that tied his career-high, redshirt junior Marcus Carr came alive midway through the half and sparked the offense. After Robbins, junior Gabe Kalscheur and grad transfer Brandon Johnson all found themselves in foul trouble, Carr got hot.

“We were surprised, I think, by their physicality. We knew they had size, it’s a big team, they got Big Ten size,” head coach Richard Pitino said. “There was a lull there offensively in the middle of the first half where Marcus [Carr] took over, and we needed that. Marcus made some big time plays but that’s what a big time player does.”

Carr put up 22 of the Gophers’ 41 first half points. With LMU getting into foul trouble early, Carr was able to get favorable matchups and maneuver into the paint. He shot 8-of-12 while the rest of the Gophers combined for 6-of-18 in the first half.

The second half wasn’t quite as easy for Carr. LMU was able to contain him and forced the Gophers to beat them elsewhere. With Robbins getting into foul trouble again, Johnson saw an uptick in minutes and gave the Gophers much needed bench points. Johnson was held scoreless in the first, but finished with eight points.

“Seeing that we needed some type of jolt on the court at that time, I couldn’t worry about [fouls] at that time. Regardless if I had three fouls, four fouls, I was just willing to do whatever it took for my team to get a W,” Johnson said.

Junior Both Gach struggled in the first half shooting just 2-of-7, but was able to get going in the second. He scored 17 points and was an efficient 4-of-5 in the second half while finding the highlight reel with junior Jarvis Omersa for a transition alley-oop.

“He’s one of those guys, if you’re running with him, you gotta throw it up cause he’s one of those guys that’s gonna get it. For me, whenever I see Jarvis on those opportunities, I’ll always try to throw him the ball,” Gach said.

After struggling in the season opener with a 6-for-17 performance, Kalscheur was more conservative with his shot selection. He moved the ball around on offense and used his versatility to drive to the hoop. He finished the game with nine points, on 3-for-8 shooting, and didn’t attempt a single three pointer.

The Gophers saw its lead grow as big as 22 late in the second half. However, LMU didn’t back down and continued to fight back. With the lead cut down to just 10, Gach hit a three pointer that sealed the deal for the Gophers.

“He was phenomenal tonight, he’s a stat-sheet stuffer and I think when you’ve got him, Gabe, Marcus going downhill, going to the lane, good things can happen. Both really really impacted the game, made a big three late,” Pitino said.

Minnesota held off the Lions after a late push and improved to 2-0 on the season. The Gophers get a day off before returning back to the barn on Monday to face LMU again.