Maryland Ends Minnesota's Madness

The Gophers' season ended Tuesday night when they struggled with their shooting.

Maryland ended the Madness for Minnesota.

The Gophers lost in the first round of the NIT to Maryland, considered by most a mediocre — or worse — representative out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins had balanced scoring and they played solid defense, limiting Minnesota 31 percent shooting from the field and a woeful 8-of-32 night from 3-point range.

It was an early exit for Minnesota, which hoped to be playing in the bigger NCAA Tournament.

The Gophers had a number of chances. Road wins over UNLV or Florida State would have boosted their resume. And nail-biters against Michigan State on the road and Indiana at home could have easily gone their way. But they couldn't rack up the wins necessary to get into the Big Dance.

They had an emotional run in the Big Ten Tournament. A 16-point comeback in the first round against Northwestern was followed by a blown 16-point lead against Indiana in the second round that culminated with Blake Hoffarber's game winner as time expired.

Seniors Dan Coleman, Lawrence McKenzie and Spencer Tollackson all had played in the NCAA Tournament.

NOTES

  • After Blake Hoffarber hit his already infamous buzzer beater to give the Gophers the win over Indiana in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, his teammates tackled him, hugged him and high-fived him. But wrapped up in that special moment was a sour one. The Gophers have a tendency to wait until it's too late to get back into games.

  • As Spencer Tollackson hobbled around on a bad ankle throughout the Big Ten tourney, you wanted to feel sorry for him. But in the first part of a semifinal loss against Illinois, Tollackson was one of the few Gophers playing with a sense of urgency. Too often, the Gophers need adversity to get riled up in a game. That's why the NIT is a bad tournament for them. There's not a whole lot on the line. They don't always perform in those situations.

    COACH: Tubby Smith, first year at Minnesota, 14 consecutive seasons in the NCAA Tournament until this season.

    LAST POSTSEASON APPEARANCE: Second round, 2006 NIT, lost to Cincinnati 76-62.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we'll be ready to play." — Tubby Smith, Gophers head coach.


    GAME REVIEW

    Minnesota 55, Northwestern 52

    Minnesota 59, Indiana 58

    Illinois 54, Minnesota 50

    Maryland 68, Minnesota 58


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