But he's not alone. Senior forward Spencer Tollackson can't figure out how to hit big free throws in big games, and it cost the team.
Senior guard Lawrence McKenzie has a bruised shooting hand that gets bumped every game. But he's more perturbed by his other teammates' lack of support down the stretch, a lapse that's forced him to take carry more weight.
And freshman guard Blake Hoffarber, the Big Ten's best three-point shooter, has been visibly upset that the Gophers aren't looking his way enough when he's behind the arc. And his coach forgot to put him in during a crucial moment against Indiana, to the bewilderment of most at Williams Arena on that night.
All of it points to a squad with few answers for its inconsistent play, and it all starts at the top with Smith.
But it's clear through 17 games that the Gophers are still trying to find themselves. Halfway through the season, however, is a bad time to do be searching.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — F Damian Johnson, F Dan Coleman, C Spencer Tollackson, G Lawrence Westbrook, G Lawrence McKenzie. Key Subs — G Al Nolen, G Blake Hoffarber
IN FOCUS: Minnesota's (12-5 through 17 games, 2-3 in the Big Ten) matchup at Ohio State will set the tone for the second half of the season. After tough losses to Michigan State and Indiana, the Gophers need a win against one of the league's best. But it won't come easy. Buckeyes guard Jamar Butler (poise) and freshman big man Kosta Koufos (offensive skills) have the assets for their respective positions that have frustrated the Gophers in the past.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We look like a million dollars one time and we look like nothing the next; it's like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde sometimes." – Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith about the team's inconsistency Jan. 20.
Minnesota 76, Penn State 73
Minnesota 60, Indiana 65
Minnesota 78, Minnesota 73
at Ohio State, Saturday, Jan. 26
at Michigan, Thursday, Jan. 31
vs. Wisconsin, Sunday, Feb. 3
at Northwestern, Wednesday, Feb. 6