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5 things that stood out: Gophers score 102 in win over UTSA

Minnesota looked really good in the non-conference win.
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These Gophers are different. That’s for sure. 

Fans who have yet to see the 2023-24 men’s basketball team play could be in for a big surprise if Friday night’s destruction of the University of Texas-San Antonio was an indication of things to come. 

Minnesota rolled to a 102-77 victory behind red-hot shooting and contributions up and down the lineup. It is Minnesota’s first 100-point game since 2020. 

1. Cam Christie can ball

Christie, a true freshman who arrived at Minnesota as a 4-star recruit, made his debut and he looked the part of a high level Power Five guard. 

Christie came off the bench five minutes into the game and missed a jumper before hitting three 3-pointers while also attacking the paint for a pair of layups. His shot is silky-smooth and so is his ball-handling. 

He finished with 18 points and was 4-of-6 from 3 on a night and the Gophers knocked 14-of-29 from deep. 

Cam Christie

Nov 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Cam Christie (24) works around Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners guard Isaiah Wyatt (11) during the first half at Williams Arena.

2. Isiah Ihnen looks outstanding

Head coach Ben Johnson was raving about Ihnen’s NBA size and skills before Ihnen suffered a second consecutive season-ending injury in 2022. Fans who tuned into the Peacock-only stream saw Ihnen flourish on the offensive end, hitting 7-of-7 shots including five 3s en route to scoring 20 points. 

Ihnen looked good as a spot up shooter from deep and as a playmaker putting the ball in the floor and attacking the rim. 

3. Very talented Josh Ola-Joseph

Ola-Joseph played big minutes as a true freshman last season and he’s one of five starters to begin this season. He finished with 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting and got to the free throw line seven times. He hit a corner 3 and backed down a defender in the paint for a bucket. He’s very athletic and has a body that can contend in the Big Ten. 

4. Strong guard depth

The diminutive Elijah Hawkins, who is lightning quick, has been the starting point guard and he packed the stat sheet with 8 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and a block. 

The depth behind or alongside him appears to be a strength with Christie coming off the bench or eventually entering the starting lineup, along with Pepperdine transfer Mike Mitchell, who finished with 11 points and hit 3-of-6 from deep. 

5. Dawson Garcia is the focal point

The versatile big man from Prior Lake led Minnesota with 22 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He made 7-of-14 shots and was 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. 

What’s more is that Garcia and the Gophers had the big night despite Pharrel Payne sitting out because of an undisclosed minor injury.