Big Ten struggles continue for Gophers in 81-61 blowout at Northwestern

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Full Game Recap:

  • First Half: Coach Johnson brought his team’s defense in the same zone that was giving Indiana trouble on Wednesday. The success came with it, as Minnesota led 9-5 heading into the first media timeout with four of the five starters finding the scoring column. Northwestern began to settle in offensively, but a major block from Josh Ola-Joseph helped the Gophers stay within striking distance at 15-11 with 11:57 to go in the half. The Gophers’ offense went ice cold, going a 1-of-7 shooting streak from the field, Northwestern took advantage with a 27-18 with 7 minutes to go. The turnovers continued to pile up. Minnesota finished the half with a whopping 11, and Northwestern led 45-28.

  • Second Half: Jamison Battle was really the only player that looked like he came to play for the Gophers. After one of his best games of the season Wednesday against Indiana, he continued to look confident knocking down shots. Unfortunately, he did not have much help and Minnesota was stuck around a 20-point deficit for nearly the entirety of the second half. The Gophers had a better performance in the second half, but it was still not enough falling 81-61.

Instant Reaction:

These are the games you can be angry about as a Gophers fan. I don’t really care who is playing, 15 turnovers and 62% free throw shooting is just a lack of focus and a lack of discipline. These are the games that cause you to develop bad habits as a team. With that being said, games like this were inevitable this season, especially when your leading scorer Dawson Garcia (bone bruise) remains OUT. Northwestern is one of the best teams in the Big Ten this season and it’s always tough to compete with anyone in this conference on the road.

On a positive note, Jamison Battle is really starting to look like his 2021-22 self. After putting together one of his best games of the season Wednesday against Indiana shooting 8-16, he backed it up with an impressive 7-12 shooting night for 20 more points. Outside of that, there weren’t much more positives to take from this one. Jaden Henley and Treyton Thompson gave some strong minutes, but there was a reason why this game was not close.

What is Next?:

Life does not get easier for the Gophers, with a road matchup with Rutgers next on the schedule it will probably not be a while until we see the Gophers put together a competitive in a Big Ten game. These are the games that make you want to fast forward to next season.

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