Read my story on Minnesota’s 74-69 win over Missouri State here.
Three observations as I await Texas Tech’s bout with Mississippi State later:
Not pretty. Yes, this one goes down as a W for the Gophers. But despite that Missouri State looked offensively challenged and greatly overmatched, Minnesota made this one seem very difficult. The Gophers struggled against the Bears’ zone – a lack of driving attack against such defenses that is already starting to look like a trend this year – and again got lackadaisical when they earned an 18-point lead, allowing Missouri State to come back.
So. Many. Whistles. Twenty-two of them on Minnesota’s side, to be exact, including major foul trouble for most of the Gophers frontcourt. That certainly kept Minnesota off balance offensively in the second half as coach Richard Pitino was forced to play Joey King at the five at times (and Camyn Boon abused him inside) and sent Missouri State to the line 37 times. Some of the calls were definitely questionable, but this is a transition period with some of the new rules and reemphasized fouling guidelines that every team (and every official) is going through and the Gophers – trying to keep their intensity up on the press and in the half court – failed to adjust as the game went on.
JO3Y. The senior forward might have his limitations in defending and rebounding in the post but he sure can shoot. At least against non-power five schools. For the third time in four games, Joey King led the team in points with 18, connecting on six of seven three-point attempts. King also hit six threes in the season opener vs. UMKC. Now, after notching just ten points vs. Temple, he’ll have to prove he can do it against bigtime defenses.