Marcus Carr amassed 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as Minnesota pulled away in the second half for an 85-50, season-opening victory over Cleveland State on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.
Carr, a transfer guard from Pitt, was making his debut for Minnesota. So, too, was Payton Willis, who had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Gophers, hitting 5 of 8 3-point shots. Willis previously played for Vanderbilt.
A third newcomer in the starting lineup, Drexel grad transfer Alihan Demir, scored 10 points.
Daniel Oturu contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Gophers, making 7 of 8 shots from the field.
Minnesota sank 13 of 29 from behind the arc, a pleasant development for a team that shot only 31.7 percent from 3-point range last season. The Vikings converted just 3 of 19 chances from long range.
Cleveland State placed only one player in double-digit points, that being freshman Hugo Ferreira, who scored 13 on 6-of-12 shooting. Kasheem Thomas scored eight.
The Gophers never trailed and took their first double-digit lead at 24-12 on Carr’s 3-pointer with 7:06 left in the first half. The Gophers led 38-21 at halftime and expanded their advantage from there.
They went on a 10-0 run about midway through the half, helped by another Carr 3-pointer. Willis also drilled a 3-point shot during the sequence that gave Minnesota a 66-34 edge.
Minnesota had a 40-25 rebounding edge over their opponent from the Horizon League.
Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates was making his debut with the Vikings, who went 10-21 last season. Gates spent the past eight seasons as an assistant at Florida State. This is his first head-coaching gig.
—Field Level Media