Buckeyes beat Gophers at Madison Square Garden

Despite Amir Coffey’s return, the Gophers still lost by 18 points in New York City.

Sophomore guard Amir Coffey dribbles toward the hoop during the game against Drake on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at Williams Arena.

Ellen Schmidt

Sophomore guard Amir Coffey dribbles toward the hoop during the game against Drake on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at Williams Arena.

Jack Warrick

Even with the return of Amir Coffey, the Gophers showed they couldn’t play with ranked teams in another Big Ten loss.

In the final game of the Gophers’ (14-8, 3-6 Big Ten) three-game east coast road trip, Minnesota fell to No. 22 Ohio State (17-4, 8-0 Big Ten) 67-49 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday in New York City.

The Gophers had a 10-point lead in the first half, but that is the largest lead they had all game. Ohio State went on a 24-2 run, something Minnesota couldn’t recover from and ended the first half down 38-31.

“It was nice to have [Coffey] back,” head coach Richard Pitino told reporters. “As much as it’s nice to have Amir back, he had one practice. From a continuity standpoint, when you lose two and put one back in, it’s difficult.”

Guards Michael Hurt and Jamir Harris filled in for Coffey while he was recovering. Hurt and Harris each average under five points per game. Coffey had averaged 14 points per game before he was injured in early January. The sophomore said he did not feel totally up to speed in Saturday’s game.

“I only got one practice in before this game, so we got to get our chemistry back,” Coffey told reporters. “For myself, I was kind of out of shape as you guys can see.”

Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy landed on teammate Gaston Diedhiou’s foot and hurt his leg in the second half. Murphy went into the locker room to check on the injury but came back out a couple minutes later.

Murphy missed out on a double-double in the game — the third game he hasn’t had one this season — only tallying five rebounds with his team-leading 13 points.

Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop, averages 20 points per game and nine rebounds. Though he had a quiet first half with just six points, he figured out his game in the second half and ended the game with a team-leading 17 points and 12 rebounds.

The Gophers’ starting center Bakary Konaté and backup center Gaston Diedhiou have been filling in for Reggie Lynch since his suspension. The two combined for one point, along with five personal fouls. Lynch averaged 10 points before his suspension.

“It’s hard from a low-post standpoint,” Pitino told reporters. “[Konaté] and [Diedhou] are not great down there.”

Minnesota concludes its three-game road stretch with the loss to the Buckeyes and will come home to Williams Arena to play Northwestern (12-9, 3-5 Big Ten) on Tuesday.