Poor shooting, second chances bury the Gophers

Minnesota’s inefficient shooting, poor rebounding and foul trouble cost them the game.

Freshman Daniel Oturu takes the jump ball at the beginning of the game on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 at Williams Arena. The gophers beat Utah 78-69.

Tony Saunders

Freshman Daniel Oturu takes the jump ball at the beginning of the game on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 at Williams Arena. The gophers beat Utah 78-69.

David Mullen

As the Gophers team looked for its first sweep over border rival No.19 Wisconsin(17-6, 9-3 Big Ten) in a decade, poor shooting, a handful of second chance opportunities and fouls derailed the Gophers’ chances.

All of the Gophers’ (16-7, 6-6 Big Ten) problems escalated during the opening minutes of the second half, and the team never recovered. After shooting more accurately than the Badgers in the opening half, Minnesota came out of the locker room in a shooting slump, going 1-5 from the field. On the other hand, the Badgers were shooting 50 percent from the floor with 16 minutes remaining. 

Halfway through the second half, Minnesota added just six points to its first half score.

“I think one miss led to another and just the confidence aspect got to us,” said forward Jordan Murphy.

The Gophers finished the game shooting 35 percent from the field and under 8 percent from behind the arc. 

“We went cold, and I thought we got some good looks [but] we couldn’t hit them,” said head coach Richard Pitino.

Center Daniel Oturu was 5-7 from the field, which was the best on the team. Murphy followed shooting only 37.5 percent.

Amir Coffey, who scored 21 points in the first meeting, had only eight points and shot 3-10. 

On top of poor shooting, the Gophers had two fouls go against them within the opening three minutes of the final half. Those two fouls were more than Wisconsin had in the game at the time, as they committed zero in the first half. The Gophers soon got to seven team fouls, and Wisconsin got into the bonus with just under five minutes remaining in the game.

Though Minnesota eventually got more chances at the free throw line, Wisconsin’s success early in the second half solidified the Badgers’ lead.

Second chance opportunities also held Minnesota back. It allowed three consecutive field-goals off of offensive rebounds, which gave the Badgers a 37-27 lead, their largest of the game, with 11 minutes left to. Wisconsin finished the game with 10 points off of second chance efforts.

“We had to stop doing that,” Pitino said. He added the rebounding improved but, “you [have to] be patient and got to rebound the ball.”

As the Gophers get ready to travel to East Lansing, Michigan to take on Michigan State on Saturday, Pitino said his message to the team is to learn from this performance.