MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Marcus Carr had 24 points, nine assists and five rebounds, Daniel Oturu scored 21 points in 24 minutes, and Minnesota never trailed in a 78-60 victory over Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Monday.
Gabe Kalscheur added 15 points, making three of five 3-pointers, and the Gophers (4-4) gained a much-needed win after several recent setbacks.
Hunter Tyson had 12 points and five rebounds off the bench for the Tigers (5-3), who missed nine of 11 attempts from 3-point range.
Leading scorer Tevin Mack, the graduate transfer who previously played at Texas and Alabama, had only two points on 1-for-4 shooting.
The Gophers jumped out to a 15-4 lead and turned a 35-29 halftime edge into a double-digit advantage without much trouble. Kalscheur came off a screen for a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer on the wing for a 43-30 lead, and Michael Hurt’s 3-pointer with 12:36 remaining pushed a lead to 69-52 before it grew to 22 points.
This was as critical of an early-season game for Minnesota as they come, after defeats by Oklahoma, Butler, Utah and DePaul by an average margin of 6.5 points. With six of their 10 nonconference contests against high-major opponents, this underclassmen-heavy team will no doubt benefit later from the tougher-than-usual slate.
With a daunting draw for the Big Ten’s two-game conference-play appetizer on deck next week — on the road against Iowa and at home against sixth-ranked Ohio State — the Gophers needed a confidence boost after those defeats gave them the most overall in the Big Ten through the first four weeks of the schedule.
Clemson has 11 wins in 20 games in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the fourth-most in either conference behind ACC foes Duke (18), Virginia (13) and Wake Forest (12). Minnesota is 10-11 in the 21-year-old contest, which launched on Monday with two games. Miami struck first for the ACC by beating Illinois 81-79. The ACC has an all-time 12-5-3 lead, after each conference won seven games last year.
MATCHED UP, IN MINNESOTA
The Gophers beat the Tigers 89-83 at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in 2015 and, also at Williams Arena, lost to them 90-68 in 2006. That defeat prompted the resignation of coach Dan Monson the following day.
Clemson: The Tigers have one of the youngest major conference teams in the country, and they started a stretch of four straight games away from home by beating TCU and losing to then 21st-ranked Colorado in a neutral-site tournament in Las Vegas. They were never able to overcome their slow start and were soft on defense the whole way, managing only one block and one steal and forcing only eight turnovers for the Gophers.
Minnesota: Oturu kept up his dominant performance in the paint shooting 9 of 11 in his first season after transferring from Pittsburgh and sitting out in 2018-19. He’s been inconsistent, but this might have been his most complete performance.
Clemson: The Tigers have their first ACC road game on Sunday at Florida State. They lost their conference opener to Virginia Tech at home on Nov. 5.
Minnesota: The Gophers have a full week before playing again. Their Big Ten opener is on Dec. 9 at Iowa.
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