MINNEAPOLIS -- The Gophers men’s basketball team didn’t just upset third-ranked Ohio State on Sunday night at Williams Arena. Minnesota blew them out, winning 84-71 after leading for the final 32 minutes.
Minnesota improved to 5-5, 1-1 in the Big Ten, while knocking off the previously 9-0 Buckeyes and rebounding from a 20-point blowout loss at unranked Iowa on Monday.
The bounce back was swiftest for Marcus Carr, who had a forgettable 0-for-10 shooting night in Iowa City. Carr’s 35 points against the Buckeyes eclipsed his career high of 24 set against Clemson on Dec. 2.
The last time the Gophers beat a top 5-team was a 77-73 victory over No. 1 Indiana in 2013. Their previous win over a ranked team came against No. 11 Purdue, 73-69 last March.
Pitino’s best previous takedown of a highly ranked team came in a 68-63 win over No. 6 Maryland during the U’s 8-23 season in 2015-16.
Sunday’s victory came with a court storming. After a postgame TV interview, Carr made sure he gave as many of the fans high-fives as possible as he walked off the court and paused for a selfie before getting off The Barn’s raised court.
The Buckeyes (9-1, 1-1), an eight-point favorite, came into the game as a possible No. 1 team in the nation in the next Associated Press poll after top-ranked Louisville lost this week.
The Buckeyes cut the Gophers’ comfortable lead to single digits with three minutes left before Carr’s three-point play extended the lead back to 72-60.
On Sunday, Ohio State star big man Kaleb Wesson picked up his fourth foul with 14 minutes left, forcing him to the bench. He finished with 12 points and six rebounds, both well below his season averages.
The Gophers began to pull away with seven minutes left in the first half. A Buckeyes turnover and made jumper by Tre’ Williams extended the Gophers lead to 24-16 and forced a Buckeyes timeout. Coach Chris Hortman had to do this a few times to stop Gopher momentum.
Ohio State remained cold from the field and Minnesota opened up its biggest lead at 36-25 with a minute left in the half. Oturu led the way with eight points, with all five starters with at least six points.
The Gophers were able to close out the upset with starting guard Payton Willis sidelined to only three minutes in the second half. He had been dealing with an ankle injury he tweaked against Iowa.