Gabe Kalscheur hit 7 of 9 shots to finish with 18 points, Daniel Oturu added 15 points and six rebounds, and Alihan Demir scored 11 to lead Minnesota past North Dakota 79-56 on Sunday night in Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Minnesota forward Jarvis Omersa scored a career-high 11 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals coming off the bench.
“He was great, his energy was unbelievable,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino told reporters of Omersa. “He’s starting to score the basketball better, and if he continues to play hard, he’s going to get those rebounds.”
The Gophers (3-3) entered the contest averaging 59 percent from the free-throw line but went 6 of 9 from the charity stripe against the Fighting Hawks.
Minnesota shot 50.8 percent from the field and collected 19 assists.
The Fighting Hawks (1-4) had three players finish in double figures, led by Marlon Stewart’s 14 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two blocks. De’Sean Allen-Eikens finished with 12 points and five boards, and Filip Rebraca had 10 points and eight boards.
Earlier this season, the Gophers lost three straight games to Oklahoma, Butler and Utah, but have built a two-game winning streak heading into Friday’s home game against surprising DePaul.
After both teams went more than three minutes without a field goal, Michael Hurt’s transition layup gave the Gophers a 49-32 lead with 13:04 to play. Marcus Carr made back-to-back 3-pointers for a 55-36 edge, as North Dakota shot just 36.6 percent in the first 29 minutes.
The Fighting Hawks came out aggressive nonetheless, scoring the first five points before the Gophers countered with a 15-1 run to seize a 15-6 lead. With Oturu picking up two early fouls, the Fighting Hawks couldn’t take advantage, shooting 36 percent and committing 10 turnovers in the first half.
Kalscheur scored 11 early points, hitting a layup and burying a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run that gave the Gophers an early 26-12 lead.
—Field Level Media