Gophers lose by 30 to No. 2 Michigan State

The Gophers shot 32 percent in their eighth consecutive loss.

Senior center Bakary Konaté runs after the ball during a game against Michigan State at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Image by Jack Rodgers

Senior center Bakary Konaté runs after the ball during a game against Michigan State at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

by Jack Warrick

Michigan State was on an eight-game winning streak, while Minnesota was on a seven-game losing streak when the two teams met at Williams Arena.

It wasn’t quite an underdog, come-from-behind story when the Gophers took on the Spartans Tuesday night.

Minnesota (14-14, 3-12 Big Ten) suffered one of its worst losses of the season — a 30-point blowout at the hands of No. 2 Michigan State (25-3, 13-2 Big Ten) by a score of 87-57. Both streaks survived for another game.

“Obviously, they’re a terrific team, and we’re not a very good team right now,” head coach Richard Pitino said. “That’s tough to play them, certainly, with how good they are.”

The Gophers shot 32 percent on the night to give them no chance against a hot-shooting Michigan State. The Spartans shot 53 percent and hit 64 percent from 3-point range Tuesday and came into the game with momentum after beating No. 3 Purdue on Friday.

“They made 14 baskets and [10] of them were threes, I’ve never seen that,” Pitino said about the Spartans’ first half performance.

Guard Isaiah Washington led the Gophers with 18 points and three rebounds. Forward Jordan Murphy scored 16 points and seven rebounds and guard Nate Mason had 14 points.

Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. was good for 27 points and six rebounds. 

“[Jackson is] a very talented player. I mean, he puts a lot of stress on the defense,” Murphy said. “Being able to knock down shots like that, and then also when he drives us, he’s just going to finish over you.”

Minnesota started the second half in an 18-point hole. They started off the second half with five quick points and cut the deficit to 13, but couldn’t keep scoring to get onto the plus side of the scoreboard. Minnesota never had the lead in the game.

“Very very impressed with them, and give them a lot of credit. I think they’re a team that could win the national championship,” Pitino said.

The Gophers last beat Michigan State at the end of last season when they knocked the Spartans out of the Big Ten tournament in the first round.

Michigan State’s head coach Tom Izzo said he had been in a similar situation as Pitino a couple of times in his career as a coach.

“I’ve been where Richard is twice in my career with a slew of injuries,” Izzo said. “Not at Minnesota, not at Michigan State, not at Duke or Kentucky, can you have four starters, or three starters, and your sixth man out, and expect to play at a level.”

The Gophers will look to get out of their losing rut on Monday when they head to Madison to play Wisconsin (11-16, 4-10 Big Ten). The Gophers have three games left in the regular season.