Rapid Recap: Michigan St. 66, Minnesota 61

MINNEAPOLIS - With their tournament hopes on the line against 6th-ranked Michigan State, the Gophers played with intensity throughout the game, falling late to the Spartans by a score of 66-61.

Despite Draymond Green's trio of three-pointers in the first half, Minnesota hung with the Spartans with intense defensive play and well-rounded scoring from the Gophers' starters. Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, and headed to the locker room down 30-31 to the visiting Spartans.

The second half looked as though the Gophers were going to pull the upset as Austin Hollins helped spur Minnesota to a nine-point lead with 10:25 remaining. Michigan State then showed why they are one of the top teams in country, forcing turnovers and holding the Gophers without a field goal for the next seven minutes. Late turnovers by Minnesota led to easy buckets for the Spartans who finished off the Gophers, 66-61.

Player of the game: Senior forward Draymond Green led the Spartans with 17 points on the game while shooting 4-of-8 from behind the arc. As usual, Green filled the stat sheet with five rebounds, five assists, one block and four steals, matching the amount of takeaways by the entire Gopher team.

Stat of the game: The Gophers turned the ball over 12 times in the second half compared to just one turnover by the Spartans. Tubby Smith attributed the late turnovers to nervousness in his young team.

Play of the game: With just 32 seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down for the Spartans in a 58-58 game, Rodney Williams committed a questionable foul at the top of the key, sending Keith Appling to the line for two free throws. Appling nailed both shots giving Michigan State a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

What did we learn: Minnesota is a tournament caliber time but does not have the record to prove it. Now sitting at 17-11 overall and just 5-10 in the conference, the Gophers have played a number of close games against ranked opponents but have been unable to finish. A win on Wednesday would have given Minnesota hope for the tournament but they now find themselves with just three games remaining on the schedule and a résumé unfit for post season play.

Quotable: "They're (Minnesota) a good enough team to definitely get into this tournament. They're a little up and down too because of youth… Any time you come up here and play against Tubby's teams it's dangerous." – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on the Gophers


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