Men’s hoops stumbles early in 20-point loss at Nebraska

by Anthony Maggio

With just over seven minutes left in Minnesota’s men’s basketball game at Nebraska, Brent Lawson air-balled a jumper. Michael Bauer corralled the rebound but missed a wide open lay-up.

It was just that kind of afternoon.

The Cornhuskers (3-3) started the game on a 16-0 run and never looked back on their way to an 80-60 victory.

“Nebraska played very well, and as coaches and players, we have to take the responsibility that we weren’t ready to play,” coach Dan Monson said. “When you start off 16 to nothing on the road, it’s a difficult chore, and we weren’t up to the task.”

Forward Andrew Drevo ignited Nebraska early, scoring 10 of the team’s first 12 points. Drevo beat the Gophers inside and outside, and Minnesota couldn’t find an answer for him defensively. Drevo finished with 27 points, leading all scorers.

“He didn’t do anything he doesn’t do every day,” Nebraska coach Barry Collier said. “He just did it all in a row.”

The 20th-ranked Gophers (4-1) struggled on both ends of the floor in their first road game and shot as if the “bubbles” they use for rebounding practice were covering the rims at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Minnesota shot a season-low 31.1 percent (19-of-61) from the floor, including 6-for-27 from the three-point line. It took the Gophers five minutes and 58 seconds to hit their first shot.

Forward Rick Rickert, who didn’t play Friday because of the flu, played only 17 minutes Sunday and did not score for the first time in his college career.

Maurice Hargrow led the Gophers in scoring with 15 points, while Bauer and Jerry Holman were also in double figures.

The Gophers again struggled with turnovers and rebounding, the two areas within which they continue to have problems.

Monson talked about his rebounding trepidation before his squad headed to Lincoln.

“Our rebounding is by far my biggest concern right now going to Nebraska,” Monson said after Friday’s game. “Because it’s what they do best.”

Minnesota was out-rebounded by the Cornhuskers 44-41. Nebraska yanked down 17 boards on the offensive glass.

The Gophers committed 16 turnovers in the contest.

Minnesota experienced turnover difficulties Friday night as well against Bethune-Cookman, who they beat 79-52.

The Gophers out-rebounded the undersized Wildcats but allowed 18 offensive boards while turning the ball over 17 times.

Minnesota has averaged 17.67 turnovers per game in its last three contests.

Bauer led the Gophers in scoring against Bethune-Cookman, dropping 19 points after being shut-out by Georgia Tech last Wednesday. Holman and Hargrow chipped in 15 points apiece.

But with their first loss, the Gophers will likely slip in the polls coming out Monday afternoon.

The next game for Minnesota is Tuesday at Williams Arena against Arkansas-Little Rock. Game time is 7 p.m.

Robinson suspended

backup point-guard Aaron Robinson did not play in Friday’s game and did not make the trip to Nebraska because he was suspended by Monson for “a team violation in relation to academics.”

Monson expects Robinson will rejoin the team for Tuesday’s game.

Anthony Maggio covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]