Dawson Garcia, Minnesota out for more vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Minnesota will go for back-to-back wins on its home court when it hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

The Golden Gophers (3-1) are coming off a 67-53 win over South Carolina Upstate on Saturday. All three of their wins this season have come by double digits.

Dawson Garcia, who scored a team-high 14 points in Minnesota’s most recent win, leads the team with 18.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. He also is averaging 1.5 blocks.

Golden Gophers coach Ben Johnson said Garcia’s priorities extend far past statistics.

“He doesn’t get caught up in scoring, he doesn’t get caught up in numbers,” Johnson said. “All that kid wants to do is win. Win for himself. But he also wants to win for the program. He wants nothing more than for this place to be packed and for us to be successful.”

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-2) is looking for a bounce-back effort after losing 100-81 against Incarnate Word in its most recent contest. The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak for the Golden Lions.

Kylen Milton leads Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 23.8 points per game. Rashad Williams (18.8 points per game), Joe French (17.2) and Lonnell Martin Jr. (10.6) also have double-digit scoring averages.

Golden Lions coach Solomon Bozeman said his team’s scoring has been fine, but he needs to see better results on defense. He challenged his players after they gave up 100 points against Incarnate Word.

“We scored the ball, but as far as toughness, you’ve got to sit down and have grit,” Bozeman said. “I thought we took a step back (on Saturday). … Right now, it’s just a toughness deal for our team. It’s not a talent issue.”

This will be the second meeting in as many years between the programs. Minnesota pulled away for a 72-56 win at home on Dec. 14, 2022.

Braeden Carrington led the Golden Gophers with 20 points in that contest. Garcia tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists.