Gophers advance to second round of Big Ten Tournament with win over Nebraska

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Full Game Recap:

  • First Half: The Gophers couldn’t have started much worse, quickly falling down 7-0; it looked grim. But they weren’t gonna go down without a fight, cutting Nebraska’s lead to 12-9 heading into the under-12 media timeout. Minnesota thoroughly outplayed the Cornhuskers after the first media timeout. Dawson Garcia and Jamison Battle combined for 19 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, while they assisted 14 of 15 made field goals as a team. It was easily one of the Gophers’ best offensive halves of the season, resulting in a 37-33 lead heading into the locker room.

  • Second Half: It was much of the same story in the second half, the Gophers wanted to prove that the first half was not a fluke. Ta’lon Cooper was playing out of his mind with a season-high 12 assists heading into the first media timeout. The offense was humming with three different scorers in double figures and Minnesota led 52-44. Tides began to shift once Jamison Battle picked up his 4th foul with 9:30 to go. He quickly picked up his 5th less than 30 seconds later and Ben Johnson was furious. After picking up a technical foul, Nebraska took advantage cutting the lead to 60-57 with 7:56 to go. This went back and forth for much of the half and Minnesota led 68-64 heading into the final media timeout. It came all the way to the end, but the Gophers survived 78-75.

Instant Reaction:

This was the Gophers team fans were waiting to see all season. All of the pieces were clicking at the same time. Ta’lon Cooper had arguably his best game of the season, Dawson Garcia looked like an All-Conference player and Jamison Battle started to look like his 2021-22 self. Cooper was the difference in the game tonight, especially on the free-throw line. With 16 points and 12 assists, it was arguably his best game in a Minnesota uniform, but most importantly, his 8 of 10 night from the free throw line down the stretch sealed it.

Overall, everyone came to play. After a sluggish start, Dawson Garcia’s 18, 13 and 6, Jaden Henley’s 14 points and Battle’s 13 Minnesota showed how talented of a team they truly are. This was this team’s best all season. Nebraska has been one of the best teams in the conference since February, they played like it tonight, but the Gophers were simply better. This coach, program and team deserved this win.

What is Next?:

The Gophers now advance to the second round of the Big Ten tournament. They will face Maryland tomorrow night in the late-night tip-off. Maryland is a team that Minnesota has lost to by a combined 53 points this season. But a wise man once said, it is always tough to beat a team three times. The Terrapins are a top-25 team in every analytical metric and the Gophers will need all hands on deck for another upset. The cinderella story might end soon, but the Gophers deserved this win.

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