Read my full story on Minnesota’s 70-52 win over Chicago State on Wednesday night here.
Three observations after the Gophers ended their three-game skid:
Doesn’t sound serious for Dorsey, but the team is holding its breath. After the game, coach Richard Pitino said the team doctors said they believe freshman guard Kevin Dorsey has a bruised heel and possibly some plantar fasciitis. Dorsey left the game after going up for a layup and coming down hard on his left foot. He limped down the stairs to the trainer and returned on crutches with a boot on his left foot. The team didn’t make him available to the media after the game. “Hopefully it’s nothing big, I don’t know, he sounded a little concerned,” Pitino said. “He landed on it pretty tough. He is a tough kid, and he said he is in pain.” The loss of Dorsey would be a real one for Minnesota. Although he has not started, the freshman came into tonight averaging over 20 minutes a game, and is the critical driving force for the Gophers’ aggressive defense. Offensively, he adds a quickness and slithery attack that is unique to the team.
Buggs was back, making up for lost time. One game after not getting off the bench, forward Charles Buggs tied Carlos Morris for the team high in points with 14, and added six rebounds. He had a pair of big back-to-back three-pointers to cap a big run going into halftime, and was strong in transition in the second, playing a big role in Minnesota’s late energy. Pitino admitted Wednesday that not playing Buggs wasn’t a fluke on Saturday, but remained stiff-lipped about the reasoning. “There was a reason he didn’t play in the last game, I just didn’t feel the need to tell you guys,” Pitino said. “That was between me and Charles… He responded very well. He’s got that ability. He’s just got to continue to stay engaged, work hard.”
Still a long ways to go. The Gophers got back on track in the results column, but there are still plenty of concerns remaining with this team. Minnesota has had the tendency to start slow, and its offense has been spotty at best and wholly disorganized at worst. The Gophers often struggle to find rhythm, settle for jump shots and look incapable of working together. The defense is still porous at times. And Minnesota has had a hard time sustaining momentum – consider that a team the caliber of Chicago State, which has not beat a single Division I or Division II team this year, was able to hang with the Gophers for 40 minutes. But Minnesota will get a bigger test a week from now, vs. Milwaukee in the final non-conference tuneup, so with that in mind, ending the losing streak and notching a much-needed win was very meaningful.