Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Gophers held a 27-25 point lead at half despite losing the points in the paint battle 12-6. Minnesota senior big men in Maurice Walker and Elliott Elliason were held in check by Wolverine freshman Ricky Doyle, who finished the game with 12 points. However, Michigan’s bread and butter is the three ball, but the Wolverines were cold being 0-8 at half and finished the game 4-22.
The Gophers came out hot in the second half and built up their lead to nine over Michigan at 7:57 left in the second half winning 49-40 after a three point play by Nate Mason. However, momentum shifted when Michigan went to 1-3-1 zone and it really disrupted the flow of the Gopher offense.
Head Coach Richard Pitino credits the Wolverines locking down on defense in the second half holding the Gophers to just 30 points, but also the inexcusable turnovers that made it very difficult to ever get anything going.
“They threw the 2-3 zone, which wasn’t effective, we got an open look on it. In their 1-3-1, I thought we were getting some good looks. Joey (King) had a couple open looks in the corner, Mo (Walker) had a open one he dropped. You can’t win playing anybody like that on the offensive side of the ball and turn the ball over like that. You just can’t. We didn’t allow ourselves to win the game.”
Still, despite the handful of turnovers the Gophers committed, which led to the Wolverines outscoring Minnesota 22-8 in points off turnovers, they were still in the game.
Michigan had the ball with 38.8 seconds left and 16 on the shot clock up 57-55. Derrick Walton took the inbound pass and ran a pick and roll with Doyle. Walton threw up a alley-opp to Doyle, who slammed it over the senior Maurice Walker and sealed the deal.
The Wolverines improved to 10-6 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The Gophers now have dropped their fourth straight and sit 11-6 overall and 0-4 in Big Ten play.When Coach Pitino was asked what it would take to end this four game losing skid and earn that first Big Ten win, he put it very simple and replied, “we got to score more points than the opponent.”