Gophers fall to Wolverines in Ann Arbor

Sophomore guard Nate Mason scored a career-high 25 points in the loss.

Gophers guard Carlos Morris plays defense at Williams Arena on Nov. 13.

Sam Harper, Daily File Photo

Gophers guard Carlos Morris plays defense at Williams Arena on Nov. 13.

by Ryan Falk

The Gophers played with effort again but couldn’t prevent another loss.
 
 
Minnesota pushed its losing streak to eight games Wednesday night with a 74-67 loss to Michigan on the road. The Gophers have yet to win a conference game in seven tries.
 
 
“[Staying positive] is hard, but we’re just fighting everyday in practice,” sophomore guard Nate Mason said before the team’s sixth Big Ten loss to Indiana on Saturday.
 
 
Mason and senior guard Carlos Morris combined for 39 points in the game, but the Gophers offense was held down by poor shooting from the three-point range. The team shot 6-22 from behind the arc Wednesday night.
 
 
Senior forward Joey King continued to struggle with only three points, all coming on a late three near the end of the game.
 
 
Michigan used a 9-0 run in the first half to take an early command of the game with a 22-9 lead. The Wolverines grew their lead to 35-20 with less than three minutes to go in the first half.
 
 
“I think our biggest problem as a team is when things don’t go well on the court, we just don’t know how to respond,” Pitino said before the game against Indiana.
 
 
Minnesota’s offense was able to get going to end the half, going on a 10-2 run sparked by Morris. The senior scored eight points in a row for the Gophers, and the team trailed 37-30 at halftime.
 
 
Mason started the second half with a good jump shot, and after the Wolverines responded Morris assisted a dunk by freshman forward Jordan Murphy to pull the Gophers within five.
 
 
The Wolverines extended their lead to 10 twice in the second half, but Minnesota was able to answer and pulled within three with 10 and a half minutes left in the game.
 
 
The Gophers also got in the bonus but found themselves a man down when sophomore center Bakary Konate went to the bench with an injury. The team was already without freshman guard Ahmad Gilbert, who suffered a dislocated finger Saturday against Indiana.
 
 
Murphy helped the Gophers keep it close with consecutive blocks when the team was down by six, but the Wolverines never gave up the lead.
 
 
Mason made two late free throws and a three-pointer to give him a career-high 25 points on the night, but Minnesota was forced to foul to try to claw their way back into the game.
 
 
The Wolverines were able to make their free throws, and Mason’s late points still couldn’t get the team closer to its first Big Ten win.
 
 
“We got to stick with [Mason],” Pitino said after the team’s loss to Indiana. “He’s got to be our go-to guy at the end of games. We trust him; we believe in him, so we’ll continue to stick with him.”