After logging nearly 37 minutes per game last season, tops in the Big Ten, Minnesota point guard Marcus Carr committed to his conditioning during offseason workouts in his hometown of Toronto.
Coming off a strong performance Wednesday in Minnesota’s season-opening rout of Green Bay, Carr and the host Golden Gophers will look to keep clicking Saturday against a Loyola Marymount team facing an endurance test of its own.
The game in Minneapolis marks the first of two the Gophers and Lions will play in a three-day span.
A slimmed-down Carr matched a career high Wednesday with 35 points in 30 minutes, keying a 99-69 runaway that saw the Golden Gophers (1-0) lead by 31 points at halftime.
“I think he put everybody in this program on notice when he came back from Toronto,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “Everybody looked over and said, ‘He’s trying to take that next step,’ and that leadership, more so than the words, really has resonated with a lot of our guys.”
More teammates figure to benefit from Carr’s example this season. On Wednesday, 10 of the 11 Golden Gophers who played scored, with nine notching double-digit minutes.
“If you look at the last four years, obviously (NCAA) Tournament in two of the last three, depth has been the issue,” Pitino said. “I think it’s our most deep team by far.”
Gabe Kalscheur, who ranked seventh in minutes in the Big Ten last season, had 17 points Wednesday while Utah transfer Both Gach added 14.
If only spectators were allowed to be on hand to see it. The university continues to take precautions after Minnesota endured COVID-19 concerns this month.
“We definitely miss having the Barn and all our fans and the Gopher faithful getting on their feet for us, whether we are going on a run or if we need that extra boost to kind of turn things around,” Carr said.
Loyola Marymount (1-0) rallied past visiting Southern Utah on Wednesday to win its season opener 85-83 on freshman guard Jalin Anderson’s buzzer-beating baseline jumper.
Anderson was one of five Lions with at least 10 points in coach Stan Johnson’s program debut. Fifth-year senior Mattias Markusson, a 7-foot-3 center from Sweden, led the balanced attack with 19 points in his first action since 2018-19. Markusson missed last season due to personal reasons.
“I thought Mattias, especially offensively in the second half, really gave us a boost when we went inside,” Johnson said.
–Field Level Media