Say it ain’t so!
Welcoming the No. 3 team in the country to Williams Arena on Sunday afternoon, few expected the Gophers to be able to hang around with the Buckeyes.
All that doubt went out the window as soon as the opening tip went up at The Barn. The Gophers controlled the game early with Marcus Carr hitting the first basket for the maroon and gold. One minute later, Willis hit the first 3-point basket of the night for Minnesota with Gabe Kalscheur and Carr adding back-to-back baskets to put Minnesota up by three points early.
With 12:28 remaining in the first half, Daniel Oturu hit a layup that put the Gophers within one after a mini Ohio State run and Alihan Demir hit a 3-point shot to give the Gophers the lead. That lead extended to five with a Willis shot from beyond the arc and turned into a nine-point lead at the half.
The craziness continued in the second half as Carr scored five straight points, giving Minnesota a 43-32 lead with 17:47 left to play. Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson hit a couple shots to try to begin a Buckeyes run but the Gophers always had an answer.
With Carr leading the way, Minnesota kept the charge going, knocking down another lay-up before Tre’ Williams hit a jumper of his own on the right block. Wesson hit 1/2 free throws on the other end before Carr got back to the line, making both of his shots from the charity stripe to make it 51-37 with 13:59 remaining.
The momentum continued to build at Williams Arena as Wesson was charged with his fourth foul and had to go to the bench with 13:47 left to play. Carr came down and hit another basket–his sixth straight point–forcing Ohio State to take another timeout. At that moment, Carr had made seven of his nine shots and was leading the Gophers with 18 points and five assists.
The clock continued to work against the Buckeyes as the visiting team tried desperately to make a comeback. With Wesson–their star player–having to sit on the bench, Minnesota took advantage, driving into the lane and attacking the basket on each possession. The team continued taking smart shots and slowly but surely ran the clock down on many possessions before putting up a shot.
With 10:17 left to play and a 15-point lead, the rocking crowd at Williams Arena kept the momentum and energy alive for the Gophers. Ohio State scored an old fashioned “and-1” to cut the lead down to nine. After a missed 3-point shot, Carr came down on the other end and forced another foul, putting the Gophers in the bonus with 9:43 to play. His two free throws pushed him to 20 points on the night and gave the Gophers a 14-point lead.
On the next two possessions, Oturu scored his 10th and 12th points for Minnesota, bringing Wiliams Arena back to their feet after his tip-in in traffic on the offensive rebound. The Gophers kept the 14-point lead into the under-8 media timeout, leading 61-47.
With Wesson back in the game, the Buckeyes force-fed him the ball, trying to ignite any type of spark for their offense. Carr continued getting to the free-throw line, knocking down all six attempts.
With 5:34 remaining, the Gophers took a timeout with a 67-52 lead. Out of the timeout, Williams was fouled and knocked down team free throw No. 12 and 13 for the night. The defense continued to play the best game of the season, leaving Ohio State with no time to comeback.
The upset was complete!
Fans stormed the court as the Gophers defeated their first top-5 team since 2013 when they defeated No. 1 Indiana.
Home teams are 13-0 in Big Ten Conference play this season.