San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Dons (5-2) took an early 9-1 lead against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2). The Gophers were 0-for-5 from the field for the first four minutes of play. San Francisco’s lead swelled to 11 points with 6:31 on hot three-point shooting from point guard Ryan Beasley who hit a pair of threes and Mike Sharavjamts added another which made the score 26-15 San Francisco. Mike Mitchell Jr. stemmed the tide with a smooth short corner jumper. Mitchell’s jumpers proved to be the first steps toward the Gophers comeback as they cut San Francisco’s lead down to eight points (37-29) by the end of the first half.
In the second half, the Dons and Gophers traded baskets for the first three minutes. Then, the Gophers’ Elijah Hawkins made two jumpers in a row that cut the Don’s lead to four points – 43-39. Minnesota’s Cam Christie’s three ball cut the Dons lead to just one – 47-46. But this was as close as the Gophers would get. Sharavjamts made a jumper to push the lead back to three points. The Gophers could not keep pace and succumbed to a rash of turnovers and missed shots. Despite Christie and Mitchell being above average three-point shooters the Gophers insisted on getting the ball to their bigs Dawson Garcia (19 points and 6 rebounds) and Pharrel Payne (15 points and 6 rebounds) who scored almost exclusively in the paint during the second half. San Francisco pulled away to win the contest 76-58.
USF’s Jonathan Mogbo, (So,. Forward) scored 28 points with 10 rebounds and three assists. Mogbo’s chiseled frame is perfect to dominate mismatches and he’s a versatile defender who scores efficiently, shooting 76% from the field. t the rim. Mogbo scored exclusively at the rim, he could be an interesting NBA prospect if he can establish at least some three-point shooting effectiveness.
USF’s senior guard Marcus Williams scored 20 points. While he was 0-of-3 from 3, he effectively pushed the tempo and scored in a variety of ways – jumpers, layups as well as free throws.
Senior forward Dawson Garcia is the hub of the Gophers scoring. Garcia has a nice touch around the rim and even stepped out and nailed two threes. However, at 6’11” he averages just 1.1 blocks per game. The Gophers will need Garcia to make a much bigger defensive impact if the they are going to make any noise in the Big 10 come conference play.
Minnesota’s freshman forward Cam Christie scored seven points on 3-of-7 shooting (1-3 3PT). Cam is the younger brother of Max Christie, the Lakers 2022 NBA second round draft pick. For a freshman Christie looked smooth and completely comfortable. He had three turnovers but with time and experience he showed glimpses of a high ceiling with his shooting and shot creation.
Minnesota’s Mike Mitchell Jr., a transfer from Pepperdine, scored nine points with six rebounds and four assists. Mitchell, a natural point guard, plays the shooting guard position for the Gophers, no doubt because of his +40% three-point shooting on high volume his previous two years. The Gophers play a traditional slow it down offense that doesn’t seem to play to Mitchell’s strengths. Look for Mitchell to be a big part of the Gophers scoring arsenal going forward.