Robbins leads No. 21 Minnesota past No. 25 Ohio State 77-60
MINNEAPOLIS — Liam Robbins had 27 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks, keeping up his impactful introduction to the Big Ten for No. 21 Minnesota in a 77-60 victory over No. 25 Ohio State on Sunday.
Marcus Carr added 15 points and Gabe Kalscheur scored 13 for the Gophers (10-2, 2-2), who emerged with three wins from a 10-day, four-game stretch — all against Top 25 foes.
Duane Washington Jr. had 21 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range, but the Buckeyes (8-3, 2-3) shot just 8 for 32 in the second half while watching a six-point halftime deficit slip further away. E.J. Liddell added 10 points for Ohio State.
Robbins, the 7-footer who transferred from Drake and had his eligibility immediate granted by the NCAA, pitched in four assists and two steals in another display of all-around excellence that has helped give Minnesota some new life this season.
Carr swished a step-back jumper just outside the paint with 46 seconds left in the first half, giving the Gophers a 43-37 edge at the break that they built on after intermission with an unrelenting energy on their defensive end.
Robbins stole the ball from Washington to start a fast break and, after Kalscheur missed a pull-up jumper, tipped it to himself for the hustle rebound. He went hard at the basket to bank in a hook shot, draw a foul on Kyle Young and convert the three-point play for a 48-39 lead.
A few minutes later, backup Eric Curry twisted out of the post to poke away a soft pass by Washington for a steal that Jamal Mashburn Jr. snagged and turned into a quick-twitch layup in traffic to finish the transition for a 53-43 advantage.
The Gophers finished their first six possessions with baskets and, after withstanding a 12-1 run by the Buckeyes fueled almost solely by Washington, trailed for a grand total of 18 seconds pf game time. Liddell’s putback dunk made it 28-27, but Robbins answered on the other end with a layup off a high-low pass by Curry.
The Gophers posted their third straight victory over Ohio State, their longest streak in the series since winning five in a row from 1996-98, games that were later vacated for NCAA violations. Minnesota’s best win of the pandemic-shortened previous season was an 84-71 victory over the then-third-ranked Buckeyes on Dec. 15, 2019. Carr had 35 points, which is still his career high.
After landing a league-record nine teams in the latest Associated Press poll, the Big Ten might well lose one when the new national rankings are released on Monday. The Buckeyes won their only other game this week at last-place Nebraska,
Ohio State: The Buckeyes had their half-court offense out of sync the entire afternoon, with the Gophers consistently getting hands in passing lanes and refusing to allow the easy shots.
Minnesota: The key to sustaining this success for the Gophers will be to keep more players scoring beside Carr, the preseason All-Big Ten pick. In the last game, a 71-59 loss at No. 6 Wisconsin, that didn’t happen as Carr went 3 for 13 from the floor.
Ohio State hosts Penn State on Wednesday.
Minnesota visits Michigan on Wednesday.
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