Former great gopher Daniel Oturu had one of the best spots to watch his former college team take on Jacksonville on Wednesday night at Williams Arena.
During the Thanksgiving break from the Windy City Bulls G-League, Oturu saw Minnesota improve to 5-0 with a 55-44 win over Jacksonville (2-2).
But Minnesota could use the size, much less the skills of Oturu, the St. Paul native who was abandoned by the Chicago Bulls last month. He averages 20 points and nearly 10 rebounds for Windy City.
Minnesota rebounded 22-13, scored 8-1 offensively in the first half, but still led 30-20 to half-time. This formula will make it much more difficult to maintain victories in the next segment of games.
The Gophers were Wednesday’s favorites with 14 points, but will face their first major test on the road against Pittsburgh in Tuesday’s ACC / Big Ten Challenge early next week. After the Panthers, U will face Mississippi on December 5, followed by two opening games on the Big 10 schedule – Michigan on December 8 and Michigan on December 11.
Despite their small size, Minnesota were ninth nationwide in most rebounds on defense (33 per game) in their first four games. The Dolphins, who finished 10th in the 12-team Atlantic Sun, had a 46-28 points lead per game.
Bigmen Eric Curry had eight boards, while reserve center Charlie Daniels had only one.
Gopher defender Payton Willis led Minnesota with 17 points.
Kevin Nolan (16.6 points per game), the Dolphins’ top scorer in preseason conference, suffered a knee injury. They were led by Tommy Brunner with 11 points.