Marcus Carr struggled to keep his emotions in check leaving the floor at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday in what could've been his last collegiate game.
The Gophers junior point guard's 24 points, including typical late-game heroics weren't enough this time in a 79-75 loss to No. 8-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament second round.
Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann saw Carr tearing up and walked over to console him following the game.
"Basketball is a super competitive sport," Carr said. "There's a mutual respect. I guess it does mean a lot to have my peers respect me and other coaches respect me."
Carr didn't win as many games with the Gophers as he had hoped for in two seasons, but he was as well respected as any point guard in the Big Ten. As decisions about turning pro await, he reflected Thursday on a season that he saw going much differently.
"I didn't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish coming back, which was going to the [NCAA] tournament and winning the Big Ten," Carr said.
The Toronto native arrived as a Pittsburgh transfer a few years ago with goals of not only establishing himself as one of the Big Ten's top guards. Carr dreamed of leading Richard Pitino's Gophers to the top of the league and deep into the NCAA tournament.
Carr accomplished his individual accolades becoming the program's first two-time All-Big Ten guard in more than a decade. Still, he would trade those honors for wins.
"Personal success really wasn't important to me," he said. "I really wanted to be a winner. The circumstances happened. And it just didn't end up that way."
The Gophers lacked an inside scoring presence when 7-footer Liam Robbins was sidelined last five games with an ankle injury. That made Carr the lone focus for every opponent's defense.
The constant traps and double teams were worst than ever. It made for the toughest stretch of his career "100 percent," he said.
If this is Carr's last season, he finished his two-year Gophers career with 1,041 points and 348 assists in 60 games. His career scoring average was 17.4, including 19.4 points per game this season. He set the single-season record with 207 assists last season. His career assists average (5.8) is a school record.
Pitino said recently he expected Carr to pursue a pro basketball career after the season. His dream is to be the next Gopher in the NBA. Amir Coffey and Daniel Oturu are with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"His future is very bright," Pitino said. "I hope the world somewhat goes back to normal, so he can do NBA workouts and really get some good feedback to see where he'll be. That will be three years in a row we get players in the NBA. That's something we would be proud of."