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Full Game Recap:
- First Half: Both teams started very slow out of the gate. After combining for 11 total possessions, the Gophers trailed 2-3 heading into the first media timeout. As Dawson Garcia began to heat up so did the game. The UNC transfer make his presence felt with 4 early points and 4 rebounds, as Minnesota led 15-12 with 7:46 to go. The next 4+ minute stretch was the Gophers’ best of the day, jumping out to a 27-20 lead thanks to some big plays from true freshman Joshua Ola-Joseph. Things continued to get better for the Maroon & Gold, closing the half strong, leading 37-28 heading into the break.
First half from the Barn#Gophers: 37
St. Francis BK: 28
— GopherHole.com (@GopherHole) November 12, 2022
- Second Half: The Gophers’ momentum continued into half No. 2. Dawson Garcia was the game’s first player to reach double figures and Minnesota took its biggest lead of the game at 45-30. True freshman Jayden Henley began to take over the game. With a team-high 14 points mid-way through the second half, Minnesota’s lead ballooned to 58-34. The lead continued to grow, with a combined effort from Pharrel Payne and Dartmouth transfer Taurus Samuels. The Maroon & Gold lead 66-41 with 4:51 to go, ultiamtely ceiling a 72-54 victory.
Instant Reaction & Takeaways:
The more I watch the Gophers freshman class, the more they continue to impress me. Joshua Ola-Joseph, Pharrel Payne and Jaden Henley have all shown potential to be All-Conference players at some point in their Gophers careers. All three have also looked like freshmen, which is something that should be expected at this point in their careers. Nevertheless, adding former MN Mr. Basketball winner Braeden Carrington (ankle) to the mix at some point will be appointment television this season. No matter how this team looks with Battle back in the lineup, Gophers fans will have a lot to look forward to with the impressive young talent on this roster.
Dawson Garcia and Ta’Lon Cooper are still the two best healthy players on this team and they showed it tonight, but the consistency of these freshmen will determine the Gophers’ ceiling in 2022-23. Minnesota fans should be ecstatic about this program’s future, and the freshman class really looks better than anyone could’ve hoped.