Leading scorer Dawson Garcia watches Gophers struggle again
EVANSTON, ILL. – Dawson Garcia arguably had the best streak of his career earlier this month when he led the Gophers men’s basketball team to their first and only Big Ten win, but now he’s watching teammates struggle without him.
The Gophers’ leading scorer and rebounder missed his second straight game in Saturday’s 81-61 loss at Northwestern. In the defeat on January 19 in Michigan, he suffered a bone contusion.
Trainer ben johnson said Garcia, who averages 14.9 points and 6.3 rebounds, had been working some earlier in the morning but still wasn’t comfortable making moves with his right foot.
“We’re going to be really smart with that,” Johnson said. “He couldn’t do it. I’d rather be over-cautious about it so he can finish the year when he comes back. We’ll see what he has for Wednesday [at Rutgers].”
Garcia had seven straight double-digit scoring games for the Gophers from early December through mid-January, including a career-high 28 points in a Jan. 12 win at Ohio State. But he landed awkwardly after drilling a three-pointer into the corner late in the loss at Ann Arbor.
After limping into the locker room, the former Prior Lake star attempted to play with a then-bad ankle, but he ended up with 13 points and seven turnovers.
On Saturday, Garcia watched from the bench in street clothes as the team’s second-best scorer. Jamison battle, tried to carry the gophers without him. Battle ended with 20 points. It was his second straight 20-point win, but he was frustrated the team couldn’t match the level they had in Wednesday’s 61-57 home loss to Indiana.
Saturday’s 20-point loss to the Wildcats was the Gophers’ biggest loss in the series since 2018.
“It just emphasizes the little things,” Battle said. “That’s what good teams do. You’re so dialed into things that you think they don’t matter, but actually have a huge impact. I think that’s where we need to take a step.”
Johnson screens recruits
Johnson stayed in Illinois after the game to watch his future guard and four-star Rolling Meadows High senior Cameron Christiewho signed with the Gophers in November.
Christie, who averaged 22 points for one of Illinois’ top big-league teams, played Moline High in Saturday night’s Glenbrook South Shootout, which features Iowa recruits Owen Freeman and Brock Harding.
In the Gophers 2023 recruiting class, Christie is joined by five-star center 7-1 Riverside (California) Hillcrest Dennis Evans III.