Gophers players were hanging their heads in the locker room after Tuesday's 79-71 win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi because they knew they could play so much better.
Following last weekend's win at Michigan, the Gophers avoided a letdown loss against the scrappy Islanders, but they still committed a shocking 28 turnovers and nearly blew a 26-point lead in the second half.
"I thought the guys were really in the right mind frame," first-year coach Ben Johnson said. "Just kind of being a little careless and taking possessions for granted a little bit."
The mistakes were not indicative of how Johnson's veteran team had been playing this season, especially with just four turnovers in the 75-65 win last Saturday against the Wolverines.
The Gophers (9-1) entered Tuesday night best in the country in fewest turnovers per game (8.3). They valued the ball even more with just 11 turnovers in the previous three games.
But Minnesota coughed up the ball against Corpus Christi the most since a 28-turnover game in a 66-47 loss at Purdue on Feb. 28, 2007. That was a 9-22 season under interim coach Jim Molinari.
The only power conference team to have more turnovers than the Gophers in a game this season so far was Pittsburgh with 32 turnovers in a 74-59 loss Nov. 12 against West Virginia.
"We'll definitely address that and shore it up," Johnson said. "But at the end of the day, winning is hard. That's what I told those guys. I'd rather correct and teach through winning, and we're never going to apologize for winning the game."
Here are four things we learned about the Gophers in Tuesday's win against Corpus Christi:
During his introductory press conference in late March, Gophers basketball's new man in charge made it clear that three-point shooting would be one of his biggest priorities in recruiting.
The U's top three-point shooter when he played in the early 2000s, Johnson wanted to build a team that reflected who he was as a player here.
The former DeLaSalle star took pride in being tough and defending but also loved to let it fly from deep.
No game looked as much like what Johnson envisioned as a team filled with shooters as the first half Tuesday. The Gophers hit nine of their 11 three-pointers from four different players.
The Gophers, who are shooting 36.4% beyond the arc this season, had 12 three-pointers twice in games this season, but they were on pace to tie the school record of 18 set on March 8, 2020, against Nebraska.
Count on Curry
Imagine if Eric Curry decided not to play a sixth season with the Gophers and was on the bench as a graduate assistant. He wouldn't be having the best season of his career so far.
Curry's teammates also don't want to think about what the Gophers would've done without him playing a pivotal role in the frontcourt and with leadership.
The 6-9, 245-pound senior would love to be scoring in double figures every night, but his biggest contributions so far this season have been defense and rebounding.
The Gophers outrebounded the Islanders 42-23 on Tuesday, but Curry led the way with a career-high tying 12 boards (also had 12 boards in Big Ten tourney win vs. Northwestern last year). It was his first double figure rebounding effort in the regular season since his freshman year in 2016-17.
"EC does a lot that doesn't always get highlighted," Johnson said. "He just takes care of business. I know he was a little bit disappointed with what he did offensively, he had a couple turnovers that I know he wanted back, but he's kind of the staple of our defense. He does a great job and that's why we don't have to post-double."
There might not be a better passing post player in the Big Ten than the 23-year-old Memphis native. He finished with four assists on the night, including the best highlight of the game hitting E.J. Stephens for an early dunk.
A bittersweet feeling had to be setting in for freshmen Treyton Thompson and Abdoulaye Thiam watching the 9-1 start this season from the bench.
Thompson, a 6-11 forward, and Thiam, a bouncy 6-3 guard, had anticipated being able to help Minnesota win this year. Their contribution has mostly been in practice on the scout team.
When the Gophers built an 18-point lead in the first half, Johnson saw that moment as the right opportunity to finally give Thompson and Thiam a chance to showcase themselves together.
A former Alexandria, Minn., standout, Thompson ended up scoring his first point as a Gopher going 1-for-2 from the foul line in six minutes. Thiam, who had played a few more times previously than Thompson, had two points in six minutes.
Johnson said he wanted to reward the younger players who have been working hard in practice to get better, but he also "had that opportunity and I wanted to see what they could do."
Assists and turnovers
Don't be surprised if another opponent moving forward will watch the havoc Corpus Christi caused to force Minnesota into 28 turnovers and try to duplicate it.
Illinois has a similar heavy ball pressure style. So Johnson and his coaching staff should have a better game plan when the Gophers play Jan. 2 against the Illini when Big Ten play resumes.
Eight different players committed at least two turnovers Tuesday, including Sean Sutherlin's career-worst seven turnovers.
As much as turnovers were the story of the night, the Gophers had several bright spots offensively other than the three-point shooting.
Payton Willis, Jamison Battle, Stephens, and Luke Loewe combined for 61 points, but also 14 of Minnesota's 23 assists on 25 field goals Tuesday.