MINNEAPOLIS -- New Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard took a few extra seconds to talk to Gophers center Daniel Oturu in the handshake line after Minnesota’s 75-67 win over the No. 19 Wolverines on Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena.
The former Fab Five member and longtime NBA veteran could appreciate Oturu’s career-high 30-point performance built on a cornucopia of offensive moves and range.
The unranked Gophers (9-7, 3-3 Big Ten) were a two 1/2 point favorite and separated themselves from the Wolverines (11-5, 2-3) with a late run in the second half.
After 35 minutes, Oturu received a curtain call with 12 rounds left as the Cretin Derham-Hall grad surpassed the 29 points he had from the loss to the Boilermakers, but that came in 46 minutes through double overtime on Jan. 2.
It was Minnesota’s best win since knocking off then-No. 3 Ohio State 84-71 at home on Dec. 15.
Michigan had 10 made 3-pointers to the Gophers’ four, but Minnesota had at 46-32 margin in points in the paint.
Marcus Carr had his second double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 assists.
The Gophers were able to break out a close game with a 9-0 run to make it 73-65 with a minute left. Alihan Demir’s 13 points in the game and Payton Willis made a 3-pointer to build the lead.
Oturu had amassed 26 points when he appeared to injury his left elbow after contact with Jon Teske at the 14-minute mark. He was shaking in pain as he laid on the floor and clutching his left elbow before going into the locker room with his head down.
The Gophers were up 45-41 when their best player left and still ahead 49-47 wen he came back with 11 remaining.
In the first half, the Gophers used a late 11-1 run to cut Michigan’s halftime lead to 31-30. Subdued at the start, Gophers fans send the team to the locker room with a standing ovation.
The Wolverines had built a 30-19 lead on the back of hot early 3-point shooting.
Daniel Oturu had 16 of the U’s 19 points to keep them in the game. He was a problem matchup for Wolverines’ standout 7-1 center Jon Teske and his backup Austin Davis, with the Cretin-Derham Hall graduate scoring in cornucopia of ways.
Oturu stretched the floor to hit a 3-pointer, got Teske to bite on a pump fake before drawing a foul at the rim. Oturu then faced the basket, spun and finished in the lane or at the rim. He also got deep post touches and was able finish, an area of development Richard Pitino has sought.
Michigan had a 25-19 lead when Oturu went to the bench for a brief respite. The Wolverines had a mini 5-0 run in the next two minutes before Oturu quickly came back in.
Gabe Kalscheur’s 3-pointer and Marcus Carr’s three layups in the late U run took some of the production off of Oturu to give them a jolt going to the locker room.