Pitino Era Begins

Minnesota started the Richard Pitino era tonight off with a bang as the Golden Gophers ran past Lehigh by a score of 81-62

Minnesota hosted Lehigh for the first regular season game of the 2013-14 season and the first regular season game of the Richard Pitino era.

As expected the Gophers jumped out front early and cruised the rest of the way. Joey King led the Gophers in scoring in his Gopher debut. King had 20 points on 6/10 shooting including a couple of threes and some free throws. Fellow newcomer Deandre Mathieu once again led the Gophers in both assists and steals with 9 assists and 3 steals, though he was turnover prone in the second half and ended up with 3 total turnovers. Mathieu also had a bandage put over his eye early in the second half and had a few shots blocked, due to his 5'8" stature.

Leading the Gophers in rebounding was Elliot Eliason, who recorded 17 rebounds. Last year's highest rebounding total was 18 from Trevor Mbakwe, but Eliason is the lone true center/power forward available for the first six games with Mo Walker suspended. Eliason did foul out with 6 seconds left and the Gophers struggled to rebound when he was off the floor tonight, so whatever Walker did to earn the 6 game suspension is putting the team in a tough spot until he returns.

Both Dre and Austin Hollins shot the ball well as Dre put up 18 and Austin ended with 11 while also grabbing 7 boards. Oto Osenieks also looked good tonight scoring five points in the first three minutes of the game and drained a couple threes and showed good touch on a jumper as well. Oto is finally playing with confidence to go along with his hard work and it's showing in the stat column.

Perhaps the most important thing of the night was a couple rows behind the Gophers bench as Minneapolis (MN.) De La Salle junior point guard Jarvis Johnson, teammate of Reid Travis who just chose Stanford over the Gophers and Duke, was in attendance. The 6-0, 175-pound floor general had to have liked what he saw from the Gopher guards who dominated an overmatched Lehigh squad 81-62.

Brice Marich also contributed to this report

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