What a horrible start, 19-5 SDSU lead. The expressions were so easy to read, 'Here we go, again'. Nate Mason hit a wide-open 3 to make it 19-8, but then Minnesota continued to leave shooters open because of their inability to stop penetration 1-on-1. and the score became 29-10.
South Dakota State is at the summit of the Summit league, yet if they lose they can easily shake it off; because Minnesota is a more prestigious program. What a dilemma. You don't want to schedule them. I would even go as far to say that you shouldn't schedule them. When the Gophers get their highly touted recruiting class in next year, in addition to their transfers that will be eligible to play next season; that is a completely different story.
Joey King needs to touch the ball on offense every single time he is in. If he isn't open, then at least run plays to try and get him the ball. Many of the Minnesota guards seemed intent on just passing the ball around the perimeter and shot-chucking late in the shot clock, rather than even looking in King's direction.
The game continued to lopside against the Gophers. It was 40-20. Konate's fears were quickly realized with the collapsing SDSU defenders. He hasn't drawn attention like this in his collegiate career. As a result, he hasn't developed much offensive awareness and passing ability. The first bucket scored by Minnesota in the paint did not come until under a minute to play in the first half.
Halftime score: 45-22 Jackrabbits.
Leading scorer: Jake Bittle 17pts on 7/10 FG (SDSU)
What sort of character did the team display in the second half?
Well it didn't take long for frustration to boil over. Coach Pitino was given a technical foul after arguing a questionable offensive foul call on a Dupree McBrayer drive at the 16:30. Shortly after Carlos Morris was called for another questionable charge and Pitino erupted briefly, but was able to calm himself before another technical was issued. The Gophers were down 50-30 after the free throw was made on the technical.
South Dakota State's players just seem so much more in control and aware. The number of layups missed by Dupree McBrayer and Kevin Dorsey was more than significant. It was decisive. The freshmen guards have so much speed and quickness, but going full speed into these layups has not been effective at this point in the season. They must develop their ability to finish at the rack.
Kevin Dorsey did show some fire in the second half, but most of the points he scored were when Minnesota was down by 20 or more. These Gopher freshmen players have ability, but the learning curve has been to steep thus far (excluding Murphy).
The most defeating thing about this game was that every single time the Gophers made a nice play they followed it up with a bad one. Thinking optimistically, consistency isn't something typically found in young teams. This young team got beaten up good tonight.
Final score: 84-70 SDSU