Gophers taken down by upstart Portland at 76 Classic

Marco LaNave

One night after shooting their way past No. 12 Butler, the No. 22 Gophers went cold in a 61-56 loss to Portland in a semifinal of the 76 Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday night.

Minnesota (4-1) shot a season-worst 33 percent, made just three of 19 3-point attempts and 13 of 22 free throws and was out-rebounded 42-33 by Portland (5-0).

The Pilots had beaten Oregon and UCLA in their last two games before Friday.  They will face No. 8 West Virginia in the 76 Classic championship game on Sunday.

Junior point guard Al Nolen led the Gophers with 13 points but fouled out for the second straight game.  He scored all 6 points for the Gophers in the final four minutes of the game.

Minnesota never led in the game but managed to tie it at 34 with 17:44 remaining in the second half.  But Portland scored the next 7 points and led by as many as 11.

The Gophers had a chance to tie it in the final seconds after a steal following a pair of free throws by Nolen that made it 59-56.  Out of a timeout with 15 seconds remaining, Nolen passed to junior guard Blake Hoffarber, whose long 3-point attempt glanced off the front of the rim and was rebounded by Pilots guard T.J. Campbell, forcing Nolen to commit his fifth foul.  Campbell, who had a game-high 23 points, made both free throws to seal the game.

Senior guard Lawrence Westbrook and sophomore guard Devoe Joseph each had 11 points for Minnesota.  The Gophers had seven assists and scored just 17 points off of 19 Pilots turnovers.  Portland shot 39 percent from the field but made 17 of 21 free throws.

Minnesota will face Texas A&M, which lost West Virginia on Friday, in the third-place game at 4 p.m. Sunday.

76 Classic Scoreboard

Games Friday

No. 8 West Virginia 73, Texas A&M 66
No. 19 Clemson 87, Long Beach State 79
Portland 61, No. 22 Minnesota 56
No. 12 Butler v. UCLA (late)

Games Sunday

7th place – Long Beach State v. Butler/UCLA loser, 1:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
3rd place – No. 22 Minnesota v. Texas A&M, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Consolation – No. 19 Clemson v. Butler/UCLA winner, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Championship – No. 8 West Virginia v. Portland, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)