Playing at home against a Mid-American Conference team turned out to be the cure for what has ailed Minnesota of late.
Senior guard Marcus Carr had 19 points and seven assists to lead Minnesota to an 82-57 home win over Central Michigan on Thursday in Minneapolis.
Minnesota (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 2-0 at home after beating Cleveland State in its season opener.
Central Michigan (4-1) dropped its first game of the season, but Minnesota was its first opponent on the road and from a Power Five conference.
Minnesota started to separate itself after holding a 23-20 lead with 8:26 left in the first half. From there, the Golden Gophers went on a 15-0 run to take a 38-20 lead with 4:30 left until halftime after a Payton Willis 3-pointer — his second of the run, which also included him scoring on a dunk.
Minnesota eventually pulled into halftime with a 48-29 lead.
The second half turned out to be much of the same, with Minnesota dominating and expanding its lead. The Golden Gophers started the second half on a 10-0 run to take a 58-29 lead with 16:59 remaining.
Central Michigan did mount a brief flurry, going on a 14-4 run to cut Minnesota’s lead to 62-43 with 13:04 left.
But Minnesota ultimately rebuilt its lead back up to 29 points at 80-51 with 6:37 remaining.
The junior guard Willis scored 18 points, sophomore Gabe Kalscheur scored 15 points (with five 3-pointers) and sophomore Daniel Oturu had nine points and 12 rebounds to flank Carr’s performance.
Minnesota shot 50.8 percent from the field (32 of 63) overall and 46.7 percent from 3-point range (14 of 30). The Golden Gophers also held a 43-34 rebounding advantage.
Senior guard Kevin McKay came off of the bench to score 16 points with eight rebounds and senior guard Dallas Morgan added 10 points for Central Michigan, which shot just 33.3 percent (22 of 66) overall and 22.7 (5 of 22) from 3-point range.
—Field Level Media