MEN'S BASKETBALL: Gophers bombed out in 90-75 loss to Michigan in Big Ten home opener
Minnesota (4-5, 0-2 Big Ten) has lost four straight games.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hunter Dickinson displayed a soft touch and followed it with an abrasive act on Thursday.
Michigan’s star men’s basketball player was feathery, making a short jump shot in the first half and was bristly by waiving his hands for Minnesota fans to get loud as he jogged back on defense at Williams Arena.
Minnesota had not, up to that point, given its faithful much to cheer about in the Big Ten home opener. The Gophers trailed 37-13, the biggest deficit of the game, and would fall 90-75 to the Wolverines.
The Gophers put together a 14-3 run late in the first half to enthuse its fans, but the biggest cheer, a standing ovation, went to the Fargo-Moorhead Acro Team’s halftime performance.
When Minnesota fell into a 32-point hole, fans started to head for the Barn doors. There were still eight minutes left in the game.
Minnesota (4-5, 0-2 Big Ten) has lost four straight games. In the first three, Minnesota started pretty well and faltered midway through the first half and never recovered. On Thursday, they started poorly and never got back into it.
Michigan (6-3, 0-1) made their first five 3-pointers to put Minnesota in an early 30-11 hole after the opening nine minutes.
The Wolverines had lost starting point guard Jaelin Llewellyn, a transfer from Princeton, to a torn ACL on Sunday, but didn’t seem to miss a beat.
Dickinson had 19 points on only 11 shots for the Wolverines. Minnesota has been challenged by the Wolverines 7-foot-1 center after Purdue’s 7-foot-4 Zach Edey had a career-high 31 points and 22 rebounds in a 89-70 blowout on Sunday.
To Minnesota’s credit, despite never leading and often trailing big, players were still diving on the floor for loose balls in the final minutes. Minnesota was led by Ta’Lon Cooper’s 16 points and five assists. Pharrel Payne had 15 and Dawson Garcia added 13.
Minnesota went 4-16 in the Big Ten last season, with one of those wins coming against Michigan in Ann Arbor in December.
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