MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Marcus Carr had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and Payton Willis added 17 points and eight assists in their debuts for Minnesota, and the Gophers breezed by Cleveland State for an 85-50 victory in the season opener on Tuesday night.
Daniel Oturu pitched in 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds despite six turnovers for the Gophers, who faced the Vikings for the first time in their histories. Carr went 3 for 9 from 3-point range and Willis was 5 for 8, giving the Gophers a persistent perimeter shooting threat for at least one game that was sorely lacking in 2018-19. Minnesota went 13 for 29 from behind the arc.
Hugo Ferreira, a freshman from Portugal, had 13 points for the Vikings, who faced a Big Ten foe for the 40th time in program history. They’re 6-34 against teams from the dominant conference in the region, with the most famous win in the 1986 NCAA Tournament win when they, as a No. 14 seed, beat No. 3 seed Indiana. The Hoosiers won the national championship the following season.
Carr missed open 3-pointers on the first two possessions, but Gabe Kalscheur hit one for the first points as the Gophers quickly got going. Carr swished one from the top of the key to give them a 24-12 lead, turning to the Cleveland State bench to hold his index finger to his lips as if to tell the Vikings to keep quiet. New Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates called over an official and Minnesota counterpart Richard Pitino to speak with them briefly during the next dead ball.
Carr, a sophomore who sat out last season after arriving from Pittsburgh, is one of three transfers in the starting lineup. Willis, a junior, came from Vanderbilt. Alihan Demir, a senior who had 10 points in his debut, switched from Drexel as a graduate transfer.
The Vikings went 3 for 19 from 3-point range. They made 303 shots from behind the arc last season, a program record that also ranked in the top 25 in the country.
• Missouri State 77, No. 23 Minnesota 69
MINNEAPOLIS – Junior Brice Calip scored a career-high 21 points, Jasmine Franklin had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Missouri State gave Amaka Agugua-Hamilton her first victory as coach of the Lady Bears.
Alexa Willard added 13 points for Missouri State and Calip topped her previous high of 19 points.
Destiny Pitts, the Big Ten freshman of the year in 2017-18, led Minnesota with 18 points after making her first six 3-point attempts. Jasmine Brunson added 14 points and Taiye Bello 13. Starter Gadiva Hubbard, who missed all of last season due to surgery on her right foot, was held to two points in 20 minutes.