Turnovers "The Main Issue" For Gophers

Minnesota finished the game with 11 turnovers, but most of them came in the first half that put them down and made it hard for them to come back against an offensive firepower like Michigan

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Minnesota came out flat in the first half shooting wise against Michigan by being only 9-24 from the field at 38% shooting and 1-7 from behind the arc for a miserable 14%. However, Head Coach Richard Pitino thought the Gophers main issue with the first half compared to their strong second half was due to the turnovers.

"That first half, we just kept turning it over leads to buckets for them," said Coach Pitino. "Crucial plays we needed to get the rebound and we didn't. I think there is some good stuff we will look at, but we got to focus and we got a week off. It is just time to get better."

"I thought we did a lot of good things in the second half. I am sure there is a lot of positives to it, but we went in there expecting to win and we didn't do that."

Junior 7-foot center Elliott Eliason had 8 points and 5 rebounds on the night against Michigan, but agreed with his coach with the reason they started to play better basketball by taking of the ball.

"We played real well in the second half and we just didn't turn the ball over is the reason," said Eliason. "We had 7 turnovers in the first half and that is a big difference. They were making those turnovers into points, so that was really the main difference in the two halves. It was a pretty good second half, but we got to play two good halves."

The turnovers are a killing for a team and create a lot of momentum for Minnesota's oppoents and Coach Pitino understands that and knows when they take care of the ball they are a tough team to beat.

"We know that is the issue," Coach Pitino said on turnovers. "We will practice it this week and we will continue to talk about it often. We didn't turn it over in the second half and there is a reason why we were able to cut that lead to 2. We won that second half 36-35 and the reason was we didn't turn the ball over."

"When we don't turn the ball over, I think we are a pretty hard team to beat. When we do, that allows teams to get out on run outs and get easy buckets. We just got to learn from it."

Despite Minnesota's great chance to probably lock down a spot in the big dance if they were able to pull off a victory at Michigan, Coach Pitino still wants his team to know that there is a lot of basketball left and they need to now prepare for their season finale at home verse Penn State.

"We look at Penn State as another great opportunity and we got to get better this week and get excited about the Big Ten tournament," said Coach Pitino. "There is a lot of basketball to be played and we got to get excited about it and learn from some of the mistakes from tonight."

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