Gophers win and advance in March Madness

Minnesota beats Louisville in first-round match up.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 1:41 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2019 2:39 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Minnesota found its elusive 3-point stroke just in time to give coach Richard Pitino the NCAA Tournament win he'd been seeking for years.

The 10th-seeded Gophers won their first NCAA Tournament game in six seasons behind 24 points from freshman Gale Kalscheur, who helped Minnesota roll past Louisville 86-76 in the opening round of the East Region on Thursday.

The win for Pitino came against school that fired his father. Rick Pitino coached the Cardinals for 16 seasons before his 2017 dismissal.

"This wasn't about getting the win for coach Pitino. It was about getting the win for us in general and advancing to the next round," said Minnesota's Jordan Murphy, who scored 18 points. "That's what makes him happy, and that's what makes us happy."

Amir Coffey also had 18 points for Minnesota (22-13), which knocked down 11 3s despite entering play ranked 344th nationally in made 3s per game.

Five of those triples came from Kalscheur, who finished a point shy of his career high for points.

Kalscheur's layup early in the second half gave Minnesota its first double-digit lead, 43-33, and Murphy's layup made it a 50-38 game with 16:06 left.

The Cardinals went to a full-court press in an effort to slow down the surging Gophers. But that just left Kalscheur open from the same spot on back-to-back possessions, and he drilled two 3s to give Minnesota a 59-43 lead.

Louisville then fouled Kalscheur behind the 3-point line, where he pushed the Gophers' edge to 19 with 9:48 to go.

"I feel like they were giving it to us," Kalscheur said. "We just fed off each other."

Murphy's 3 with 5:28 left — just his seventh all year — made it a 15-point game and typified just how well things were rolling for Minnesota.

"I thought we played really good defense when we needed to. We showed great toughness and grit down the stretch," Pitino said. "You can't undersell it. That's a terrific win for our guys. Being proud of (them is) probably an understatement for these guys."

The seventh-seeded Cardinals (20-14) did cut it to seven late, but Christen Cunningham missed an open 3 that could've made things interesting down the stretch.

Cunningham led Louisville (20-14) with 22 points, and Steven Enoch had 14. The Cardinals finished the season with nine losses in 14 games.

"Really a tough feeling to end your season so quickly," Louisville coach Chris Mack said. "I am very proud of our group. They exceeded a lot of people's expectations."

THE BIG PICTURE

Minnesota: This was the breakthrough Pitino had been searching for from the Gophers. Minnesota played arguably its best game of the season, and Kalscheur scored more points in 40 minutes than he did in three games during the Big Ten tournament.

Louisville: Despite dropping his first NCAA Tournament game with the Cardinals, Mack's future looks bright at Louisville — especially if Jordan Nwora (10 points, 11 rebounds) returns next season. Louisville got no help in the game location, less than 250 miles from Minneapolis, which created a de-facto home game for the Gophers. Louisville did have one famous fan on its side though, as actor Bill Murray watched from behind the Cards bench. Murray's son Luke is an assistant at Louisville.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

With 2:46 left and Louisville down 12, Darius Perry banked in a long 3 as the shot clock went off. The officials confirmed it after a video review, making it 76-67 Minnesota. Perry followed with a 3 to pull the Cards within seven, but Minnesota's ability to navigate Louisville's press without putting the ball in danger rendered Louisville's comeback hopes moot.

WHO NEEDS A BENCH

Minnesota didn't get a single point from its bench, becoming the first team to win a first-round game since Norfolk State stunned Missouri seven years ago.

UP NEXT

Minnesota plays the Michigan State-Bradley winner on Saturday with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 595016

Reported Deaths: 7389
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1230751733
Ramsey51592876
Dakota46084452
Anoka41891440
Washington27009283
Stearns22311222
St. Louis17841305
Scott17336126
Wright16136140
Olmsted1327098
Sherburne1177588
Carver1052045
Clay817292
Rice8084108
Blue Earth752741
Crow Wing667890
Kandiyohi657783
Chisago604251
Otter Tail576378
Benton572997
Goodhue479172
Douglas469576
Mower466832
Winona455150
Itasca442256
McLeod425659
Isanti425364
Morrison419860
Nobles408148
Beltrami398659
Steele389815
Polk384968
Becker381453
Lyon361351
Carlton346254
Freeborn342129
Pine329322
Nicollet326843
Brown306140
Mille Lacs305553
Le Sueur293523
Todd282932
Cass275028
Meeker258240
Waseca236522
Martin231032
Roseau209819
Wabasha20653
Hubbard190941
Dodge18553
Renville180643
Redwood174837
Houston172016
Cottonwood166123
Fillmore156710
Wadena156122
Pennington153719
Faribault152619
Chippewa152538
Kanabec145326
Sibley144010
Aitkin135336
Watonwan13339
Rock128419
Jackson121812
Pipestone116026
Yellow Medicine114320
Pope11106
Murray10639
Swift105918
Stevens91611
Marshall88117
Clearwater87116
Koochiching84315
Wilkin81612
Lake81120
Lac qui Parle75422
Big Stone6004
Grant5828
Lincoln5813
Mahnomen5549
Norman5409
Unassigned50193
Kittson48722
Red Lake3997
Traverse3705
Lake of the Woods3323
Cook1660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 367499

Reported Deaths: 5946
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57719628
Linn20916335
Scott20082242
Black Hawk15828308
Woodbury15148228
Johnson1450183
Dubuque13384209
Dallas1119598
Pottawattamie11143168
Story1063048
Warren578089
Clinton556193
Cerro Gordo541489
Sioux514574
Webster512593
Marshall483375
Muscatine4819100
Des Moines459166
Wapello4306122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419472
Plymouth401280
Lee376155
Marion363275
Jones299257
Henry292237
Carroll285952
Bremer285160
Crawford266240
Boone265134
Benton256555
Washington254150
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230651
Jackson222242
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama210071
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196735
Page192722
Buchanan191532
Cedar190223
Hardin185743
Fayette185241
Wright185037
Hamilton180249
Harrison179673
Clayton169656
Butler165234
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161242
Cherokee159038
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151651
Iowa149024
Hancock148634
Winnebago142631
Cass138754
Calhoun138513
Grundy136433
Emmet134340
Jefferson132835
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Appanoose128349
Union128333
Louisa128149
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
Guthrie121730
Franklin120821
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112923
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100224
Unassigned9670
Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis83624
Monona82830
Osceola78816
Greene77710
Lucas77323
Worth7508
Taylor66012
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Decatur6089
Van Buren56018
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