Early on, after a very brief Minnesota lead, the Huskies led for nearly all of the first half. Both teams played the 2-3 zone and stymied each other’s offenses. Minnesota shot 26% from the floor in the first half, including 1-6 from deep, while the Huskies had a 37.5% field goal percentage and were 0-7 on 3’s. At one point in the first half, Minnesota went nearly 7 minutes without scoring a point, however the Huskies failed to capitalize on this opportunity and only manged to score 4 points during that same stretch. Noah Dickerson, who finished the night with a team leading 28 points and 7 rebounds, outscored the rest of his team in the first half 14-11. Despite this poor offensive performance, the Huskies went into halftime with a 25-20 lead.
In the second half both teams got into foul trouble early. Sam Timmins eventually fouled out with over 9 minutes left in the game. Hameir Wright and Mattise Thybulle both ended the game with 4 fouls, while three Golden Gophers finished the game with 4 fouls.
After the Huskies built a 9 point lead with 17 minutes to go, Minnesota started to make their comeback. They chipped away at the Huskies’ lead until Jordan Murphy (18 points, 11 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals) tied the game at 35 a-piece with a dunk just after the 14 minute mark. From that point on, the game remained fairly close as the Huskies built another 6 point lead that they struggled to maintain.
With 2:06 left on the clock, Murphy made a layup to give the Gophers a 65-63 lead. The Huskies quickly responded with a Jaylen Nowell layup, followed by a defensive stop and a foul on David Crisp that sent him to the line. He made the first shot but missed the second, giving the Huskies a narrow 66-65 lead with just over a minute left in the game. After a frustrating defensive series involving two Minnesota offensive rebounds and (luckily) two missed shots, Nowell turned the ball over on an offensive foul with 13 seconds remaining. That brings us back to Kalscheur, Minnesota’s freshman guard, who sank an awkward looking but game winning 3 pointer over Noah Dickerson with 2 seconds left in the game.
Dickerson’s 28 points tied a career high. He had a great game offensively and made 9-11 of his field goals and went 10-13 on free throws. Nowell scored 22, along with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. Shockingly, the only other Husky to score more than 2 points was Crisp with 8.
If it wasn’t clear from the recap, the Huskies could have easily won this game and had the lead heading into the final seconds. It’s hard to know whether to attribute both team’s offensive struggles to well played defense, or exhaustion from playing their third game in four days. Likely it’s some of both. Regardless, the Huskies lost a close one to a good Minnesota team and are now 4-2 on the season. The team will get a few days of rest before facing Eastern Washington at home on the 27th.