Generally, when two ranked teams play each other in the regular season, things are expected to be close. This was not the case on Tuesday night, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers defend home court against a Spartan team looking to build on their dominant performance in the Big 10.
Golden Gophers Defend Home Court
The Golden Gophers got out to a lead early and never looked back, going up by as much as 20 before going back to the locker room with a 36-16 lead. They never gave up the lead throughout the entire contest. From there, it was as simple as coasting through the second half to an 81-56 win.
All but three of the Gophers squad scored tonight, and they finished the game shooting 47% from the field and 24% from the three-point line. They also finished the game with 18 assists and 14 turnovers.
What Went Wrong for the Spartans
Turnovers typically tell the story of a blowout, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The Spartans only committed 6 turnovers, while forcing 14 on the Golden Gophers.
“We just were stagnant offensively,” Izzo said after the game. “We were pretty good defensively and those turnovers, you know to our credit, we did a better job the second half.”
A large part of the problem for the Spartans was a lack of scoring. It seemed that there was a lid on the bucket for much of the game for the Spartans, as evidenced by their abysmal 25.7% shooting from the field and their 24% percentage from beyond the arc. The glass was another issue, as the Gophers led in rebounds 52-36. Liam Robbins led that charge with 19 points and 9 rebounds.
Izzo turned to the bench early to provide a spark, but no one seemed to be able to get into any kind of rhythm. They started out 4-31 from the field and didn’t even score until the 14-minute mark of the first half when Joshua Langford hit a three.
Gophers Continue to Rise
The game tonight is on par with how the Golden Gophers have been playing throughout the season, save for one blowout loss against Illinois. This is the second straight ranked opponent that Minnesota has played and the second straight ranked win.
Should they continue this trend through the next five games, they may see themselves among the top teams in the country. Their next slate of games consists of all ranked teams like Iowa, Ohio State and Rutgers. Through the rest of the year, they will play in games against nine ranked opponents.
For the Spartans, there is no rest for the weary. They play much of the same teams that Minnesota does. They will need to find a way to get some offense going because the rest of the Big 10 seems to have figured out how to do it.
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