Gophers lose to Wisconsin for 6th straight time

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Full Game Recap:

  • First Half: After Thursday night’s miraculous comeback win over Rutgers, the Gophers came out with some great energy Sunday. Dawson Garcia led the team with five points as Wisconsin led 15-12 heading into the under-12 media timeout. Things only got better for the Gophers, all four freshmen; Carrington, Payne, Henley and Ola-Joseph had arguably their best collective half of the season. With 22 combined points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Minnesota was able to take advantage and take a 36-29 lead into the half. Dawson Garcia had a team-high 10 points in one of the best halves of the season.

  • Second Half: Fighting on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Wisconsin was not going down without a fight. The Badgers quickly cut the Gophers’ lead to one and Ben Johnson called a timeout with 17:43 to go. Minnesota quickly responded, bumping the lead back up to five heading into the final under-16 media timeout. Dawson Garcia began to turn it up a notch; growing his point total to a game-high 17, the Gophers led 50-46 with 11:29 to go. The Maroon & Gold extended its lead back up to 7, but Wisconsin fought back tying it at 55 thanks to 37 of those points coming from (MN natives) Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl. Wisconsin’s duo continued finding success and took a 62-59 lead into the final media timeout. Minnesota had a shot down to the end, but an 11-19 night from the free throw line was too much to overcome, falling 71-67.

Instant Reaction:

Consecutive regular season conference wins to end the season “would’ve been” exactly what the Gophers men’s basketball program needed. The first half against Wisconsin was arguably their best 20 minutes of basketball played this season. They played as a team; shooting 60% from the field and holding the Badgers to 40%, was as complete as a performance that this roster can have. The freshman quartet of Carrington, Payne, Ola-Joseph and Henley all looked in sync and comfortable at the same time, which is something that you have not been able to say this season.

The only problem was that did not carry over to the second half. The same issues that this team had all season shined brightest in a closely contested game. It will never be easy to win a close game shooting 11-19 from the free throw line. Ta’lon Cooper did an impressive job facilitating the offense in the first half, but the same issues that have infuriated Gophers’ fans showed up late. A roller coaster of decision-making was too much to overcome with a handful of turnovers. Overall, the Gophers played well enough to win this game, they simply did not correct their season-long issues which is a discipline issue.

What is Next?:

Minnesota will now prepare for the Big Ten tournament. Having clinched the last seed in the Big Ten for quite some time, the Gophers will play 11-seed Nebraska at 8 pm on #WeaklingWednesday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. A win tonight would’ve gone a long way in providing some positive momentum for this program, but the same problems continued.

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