Minnesota Golden Gophers News: Men’s Basketball Opens Big Ten Play at Ohio State Today, 6:30 PM

By Bane Rossi




Broadcast: BTN (Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Shon Morris (color)
Tip Time: 5:31 p.m. CT
Radio: KTLK 1130 AM/103.5 FM (Mike Grimm, Al Nolen)
Sirius: SiriusXM 388

148th Meeting (55-92 all time)
Minnesota at Ohio State: 18-55
Gophers All-Time vs. Big Ten: 787-900
* – excludes vacated games

• Minnesota will look to win its first Big Ten-opening game since the 2017-18 season, when it defeated Rutgers, 89-67, at Williams Arena. This marks the seventh straight year the Big Ten has scheduled conference games early in December, which also began in the 2017-18 season. It’s the second-straight year the Gophers start Big Ten play on the road and the fifth time the past six years. The last time Minnesota opened Big Ten play against Ohio State dates back to 2018-19 when the Gophers traveled to Columbus, Ohio and fell, 79-59 on Dec. 2, 2018.
•  Minnesota is 55-92 all time against the Buckeyes, dating back to 1904. The Gophers and Buckeyes faced each other just once last season, as the Gophers earned a 70-67 win, Jan. 12, 2023 in Columbus. Dawson Garcia tied a career high 28 points and nine rebounds for its first Big Ten victory of the season. Minnesota won just its 18th game at Ohio State in 73 attempts.
•  Last Sunday against San Francisco, Dawson Garcia established his 1,000th collegiate point. He scored 351 points with Marquette and 179 rebounds. Garcia added 144 points and 88 rebounds with North Carolina. Now with Minnesota, Garcia has 526 points and 228 rebounds. His 1,021 points have come through 76 collegiate games played, including 72 career starts. Garcia is five rebounds away from establishing his 500th collegiate rebound, currently sitting at 495. In his career, Garcia has  averaged 13.4 ppg and 15.9 as a Gopher.
•  Minnesota’s convincing 97-64 win over New Orleans Thursday was its first 30-plus win since a 99-69 win versus Green Bay on Nov. 25, 2020. The Gophers were also 38-of-64 (.594) field goals, its best shooting effort since making 39-of-62 (.629) versus Omaha on Nov. 6, 2018. It was Minnesota’s third game this season shooting over 50 percent and the third time having over 20 assists in a game. Thursday’s 27 assists were a season high.
•  Showing its depth, Minnesota ranks first in the Big Ten in bench points and 22nd nationally. Minnesota averages 32.57 points off the bench this season. The Gophers also rank first in assists per game and 12th nationally at 18.9 per game. Gophers also rank third in Big Ten with 41.6 rebounds per game.

• Cam Christie led five Minnesota players in double-figures with a career-high 20 points, as the Gophers (5-2) cruised to a 97-64 win versus New Orleans, Thursday at Williams Arena. Pharrel Payne added 17 points and five rebounds, Dawson Garcia had 15 points, Mike Mitchell Jr. added 14 points and five assists, and Joshua Ola-Joseph finished with 10 points. In all, Minnesota had all 15 players see court time in the win, including the first time this season for Jackson PurcellWill Ramberg and Erick Reader this season.
• Christie came off the bench to record his third double-figure scoring game this season, making 6-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, and going a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line. He also tied his career-high with four assists for the third time in six games this season. Payne had 17 points in 17 minutes, going 7-of-9 from the floor, and Garcia was 7-of-11 from the field and tied his career-high with three blocked shots. Elijah Hawkins added a season-best nine assists in the win.

•  Ohio State is 6-1 this season and riding a five-game win streak into Big Ten play. The Buckeyes won their opener against Oakland, then fell to Texas A&M 73-66. Since the loss, OSU has defeated the likes of Merrimack, Western Michigan, Alabama, Santa Clara and most recently Central Michigan on Wednesday.
•  Bruce Thornton paves the scoring averaging 18.3 per game, followed by Roddy Gayle Jr. at 14.4 and Jamison Battle at 12.4. Zed Key also averages double-digit scoring at 10.4. Thornton is tied for seventh in league scoring with Dawson Garcia, while Thornton ranks third in assist/turnover ratio at 5.2. He also has a team-high 31 assists and 11 steals. Gayle ranks sixth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.559), while Battle averages 2.4 treys per game in 44 attempts. Felix Okpara averages a team-best 6.4 rebounds and has 15 blocks this season.
•  As a team, OSU averages 80.0 points and allows 64.6. They are shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 38.8 from the arc. They have 46 steals and average 38.4 rebounds per game.

•  Minnesota is back to Williams Arena for its Big Ten home opener Nebraska comes to town Dec. 6. The Gophers and Huskers battle at 8 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
•  Mike Grimm and Al Nolen will provide the radio broadcast on Gopher Radio Network, KFAN 100.3 FM.