The Gophers men’s basketball team has found a new path to a familiar goal on the street this season.
After running off the pitch in their last four losses, Minnesota led in the first half at 14 but faded in the second half and fell 81-62 against on Saturday night at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind Purdue.
The Gophers at # 21 (11-6, 4-6 Big Ten) and Nebraska are still the only Big Ten programs without a road win this season. This is an odd fact considering that there are no fans in the stands due to the pandemic.
The first four defeats in Minnesota averaged 19 points, but Saturday started promisingly. The Gophers are the conference’s worst 3-point shooting team, but they made six of their top eight and took the lead 24-10.
The Gophers were 35-30 halfway up and losing for the first time in 11 games when they were leading at break. Their poor long distance shooting caught up with them when they left 4 for 18 after their hot start.
Purdue (12-6, 7-4) took the lead 19-6 and took the lead from 49-41 with 12 minutes to go. Minnesota had four turnovers in more than four minutes.
Marcus Carr, the Gophers’ top scorer at 20.9 points per game, was goalless in the first half. Carr finished the 2-of-13 shootout with six points.
Saturday’s game had a marquee matchup between Liam Robbins and Trevion Williams. Both were among 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which was given to the best center in the country.
Robbins had a team high of 15 points with seven rebounds and six blocks. Williams had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Gophers got sparks from three unexpected sources in the first half. Tre ’Williams, Eric Curry and Brandon Johnson shared the team with eight points each.
The Gophers are the Big Ten’s worst 3-point shooting team but got off to a hot start, scoring six of their first eight 3-point goals to get a 24-10 lead. Curry broke Minnesota off the bench early with two Treys and eight points.
Johnson also contributed eight, with one starting with a steal on the defensive and ending with a euro step lay-up.
Williams started the season for the first time, replacing Both Gach, who started the first 16 games of the season. He had a trey and a layup to finish the four-minute run without a basket and bring Minnesota’s lead back into double digits.
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