PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers is about as far from Minnesota as you can get in the Big Ten, but Gophers freshmen Daniel Oturu and Gabe Kalscheur played with the pride of representing their home state.
Kalscheur scored 21 points on 6-for-6 shooting from three-point range and Oturu had 20 points and eight rebounds, but they didn’t get much help in a 68-64 loss Sunday night against the Scarlet Knights.
A former DeLaSalle standout, Kalscheur was drilling three-pointers in the first half like it was his backyard hoop in Minneapolis. Oturu tapped into some of his immense potential in the post.
“I feel like Daniel feeds off me and I feed off him,” said Kalscheur, who had 15 points on five three-pointers in the first half. “As a group collectively, we just have to do a better job of feeding off each other.”
Oturu had 12 points in the second half, including a baseline dunk that cut it to 64-63 with 43.8 seconds left. He also was fouled on the play and was critical of himself for missing the free throw.
“Rutgers was tough and physical,” the former Cretin-Derham Hall star said. “I didn’t finish the play, but hopefully we’ll get another opportunity.”
An all-Minnesotan recruiting class entered the program this year with Oturu, Kalscheur and Orono’s Jarvis Omersa. The former AAU teammates and current U roommates talked about their decision to play for the home state program during a feature Sunday on Big Ten Network’s “The Journey.”
“All three of us are homegrown kids, so I feel like us staying here and having success here should show other in-state recruits you can be from Minnesota and go to Minnesota,” said Oturu, who leads Big Ten freshmen in rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage. “And just continue to build the program.”
East Coast family
Senior guard Dupree McBrayer and sophomore guard Isaiah Washington both had 18 family members at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Washington, the New York player of the year in 2017, is from Harlem, and McBrayer is from Queens.