Carrying the Gophers is what Marcus Carr does best, but his teammates weren't alarmed when he didn't take his first shot attempt until late in the first half Sunday.
Intent on taking the burden off their junior guard to always carry the scoring load, the Gophers found another go-to guy against Ohio State.
The No. 21 Gophers took advantage of 7-footer Liam Robbins' height advantage inside and rode him to the tune of 27 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in a 77-60 victory Sunday against the No. 25 Buckeyes at Williams Arena.
The Gophers (10-2, 3-2 in the Big Ten) bounced back from an ugly offensive showing in Thursday's 71-59 loss at No. 6 Wisconsin by going through the post. Robbins was two points from his career high and tied a 27-point effort earlier this season against Missouri-Kansas City.
"Marcus is our leading scorer and kind of the heartbeat of our team," said Robbins, who had 16 first-half points. "So when they were taking him away, obviously the ball went to me. And I was glad I was able to make some things happen. I feel like it opened it up for everyone else."
The Buckeyes, who were led by Duane Washington Jr.'s 21 points, weren't going to let Carr beat them like he did twice last season. He had a career-high 35 points in Minnesota's victory at home, but also hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 4 seconds left in the U's win in Columbus.
Carr, who was averaging 22.7 points, wound up with 15 points on 3-for-12 shooting Sunday.
The Gophers were 1-10 in Big Ten play when Carr had three field goals or fewer in a game the past two seasons, which included losses at Illinois and Wisconsin this season.
But coach Richard Pitino changed his offensive game plan Sunday, emphasizing more ball movement and using a high-low offense to get the ball inside to Robbins vs. the undersized Buckeyes (8-3, 2-3). That led to Robbins going 12-for-17 from the foul line.
"It can't be ball-screen Marcus every single time," Pitino said. "Anytime they put two on the ball you have to get rid of it and read the defense. Whether it was throwing it down to Liam, which we did a good job of, or reversing it to the corner for some threes."
The first basket of the game for Robbins was a three-pointer, but he eventually was a force down low with deep post position and a five-inch height advantage on Ohio State's 6-7 E.J. Liddell.
After Robbins scored seven of his team's first 14 points, the Gophers led 16-5 on Both Gach's dunk at the 16-minute mark.
Ohio State came alive with a 23-11 run to go ahead 28-27 on Liddell's dunk with just under six minutes remaining in the first half. But the Gophers responded with a 16-9 run to lead 43-37 at halftime.
Carr didn't shoot until 7:22 was left in the first half, and his first field goal of the game came 46 seconds before halftime. The All-Big Ten preseason guard was averaging nearly 25 points in the previous nine games at home, but he welcomed scoring help from Robbins and teammates Sunday.
The Gophers, who hit nine three-pointers and held Ohio State to 31.1% shooting, had four of their five starters score in double figures, including Gabe Kalscheur (13 points) and Gach (10). Freshman Jamal Mashburn Jr. had 10 points off the bench.
"It definitely feels good not necessarily having to [score] a lot," Carr said. "I have trust and faith in my teammates they are going to make plays and do the right thing."