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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.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Minnesota
Minnesota forward Jamison Battle (10) drives to the basket against Michigan forward Tarris Reed Jr. on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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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.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Minnesota
Minnesota forward Dawson Garcia, right, looks to shoot while Michigan center Hunter Dickinson defends Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at Williams Arena.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

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.

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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.

MORE MINNESOTA GOPHERS COVERAGE:
The Gophers have lost two in a row and six of seven overall.
Center Trey Thompson broke his nose at Northwestern but plans to play Wednesday vs. Rutgers
And why shouldn’t she? Indiana brings a 20-1 record and No. 4 national ranking into Wednesday’s game at the Barn
The Gophers (9-12 overall, 2-8 Big Ten) led only once, 2-0, on a layup by Rose Micheaux in the game’s first 16 seconds.
After an 81-61 loss at Northwestern on Saturday, Minnesota is 1-9 in Big Ten play with 10 games remaining
Junior wing who led Minnesota in scoring last season has struggled offensively at times this season
With two more players unavailable Wednesday, the Gophers had roughly half that roster max against Indiana at Williams Arena.
Minnesota is the worst free-throw shooting team in the nation, making a woeful 59.3% this year to rank 352 out of 352 Division I programs.
Minnesota gave itself ‘a chance,’ coach Ben Johnson said, but foul trouble for leading scorer Dawson Garcia was an issue
Minnesota managed just 39 points against the Boilermakers

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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Related Topics: MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
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