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Balanced attack lifts Gophers over Utah

MINNEAPOLIS -- Richard Pitino worked to distance Gophers freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur from any early "just a shooter" labels during preseason. The Gophers men's basketball coach instead chose to praise the Minneapolis DeLaSalle graduate's poise ...

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Richard Pitino worked to distance Gophers freshman guard Gabe Kalscheur from any early “just a shooter” labels during preseason. The Gophers men’s basketball coach instead chose to praise the Minneapolis DeLaSalle graduate’s poise and defense.

Well, Kalscheur let it fly against Utah on Monday night.

Kalscheur made all four of his 3-pointers in the first half and paced the Gophers with 12 points. He kept it alive to finish 5 of 6 from deep and lead four teammates in double figures with 19 in Minnesota’s 78-69 win over Utah at Williams Arena.

The Gophers improved to 2-0 on 52 percent shooting, including 37 percent from 3-point range. Amir Coffey had 14 points, Daniel Orturu 13, and Jordan Murphy and Dupree McBrayer 11 apiece.

During the 104-76 season-opening win over Nebraska Omaha, Pitino played Kalscheur only 17 minutes, thinking the freshman, who has been inserted into the starting lineup, was more like a veteran who didn’t really need as much playing time in a blowout. He made two of three 3-pointers and had eight points against the Mavericks.

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Down the stretch Monday, Pitino entrusted Kalscheur and fellow freshman Oturu to close out the game against a Pac-12 foe. Kalscheur made a pair of free throws and and a driving baby hook shot in the final two minutes.

The Gophers held Utah to 40 percent shooting and 33 percent from 3-point range.

The Gophers took a 12-7 lead over the Utes before Murphy received his second foul and went to the bench at 13:11 in the first half.

With Minnesota’s top post presence sitting, Utah went on a 11-2 run. Murphy returned and Minnesota retook a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, leading 33-26 at the half.

Utah’s best player, point guard Sedric Barefield, also dealt with foul trouble and had only two points and no assists in eight minutes in the first half. He and Vante Hendrix finished with a Utes high of 14 apiece.

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