Minnesota hasn't had much success against major-conference competition so far in 2019-20 but will get another chance when it hosts Clemson on Monday. The Golden Gophers are coming off a home loss to DePaul and already have setbacks against Oklahoma, Butler and Utah on the resume.
"Clearly, we were close and we had our chances," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino told reporters after the 73-68 loss to DePaul on Friday. "You just kind of strip them all down and take them one game at time and evaluate. You don't lump all the losses together." The Gophers failed to reach 70 points in any of their four meetings with high-major foes and shot 34.4 percent from the floor in Friday's setback, including 7-of-29 from 3-point range. Clemson has its own trouble with high-major competition and is coming off a 71-67 loss to Colorado in the final of the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas last week. "We made a couple of defensive errors toward the end that cost us, but I'm proud of the way our kids fought," Tigers coach Brad Brownell told reporters. "This one stings because we probably played well enough to win. We outplayed Colorado for a good portion of the game. We just didn't close this one out."
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ABOUT CLEMSON (5-2): The Tigers dropped to 1-2 against high-major foes with the loss to Colorado, which marked the first time this season they allowed an opponent to reach 70 points. "Our guys are getting better," Brownell told reporters. We're fighting. We've got to get better at executing a few things, but we're getting there. Our players work hard for us, and I love coaching them." One of those players is senior guard Tevin Mack, who leads Clemson in scoring at an average of 15.4 points but had a string of five straight games shooting 50 percent or better from the floor come to an end when he went 3-of-11 against Colorado.
ABOUT MINNESOTA (3-4): The Gophers are led by sophomore center Daniel Oturu, who averages 17 points and 11.9 rebounds and collected 19 and 18 in Friday's loss. Oturu is shooting 59.7 percent from the floor, but the rest of the team is shooting 38.9 percent and starting guard Marcus Carr, who is second on the team in scoring at an average of 13 points, is shooting 35.6 percent. Carr was held to four points on 2-of-9 shooting Friday while fellow guard Payton Willis scored 16 points but went 6-of-17 from the floor.
1. Minnesota G Gabe Kalscheur has scored in double figures in each of the last four games.
2. Clemson F Aamir Simms scored a season-high 23 points against Colorado.
3. The Tigers fell to Nebraska in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge last season while the Gophers dropped a 68-56 decision at Boston College.
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