At the Half: Minnesota up 39-26 over Michigan State

The Gophers are leading the Spartans in their Big Ten opener.

Jack White

The Gophers opened conference play today against the Michigan State Spartans. Here’s three observations through the game’s first half:

1.Spartans miss having Bridges

Guard Miles Bridges averages 16.6 points per game for Michigan State. The freshman is out against the Gophers with an ankle injury and the Spartans’ offense has been struggling to score points. The team is shooting just 34 percent from field-goal range in his absence.

2. Minnesota still struggles at the line

The Gophers have eight more free-throw attempts than the Spartans in the first half, but Minnesota is having trouble converting. The Gophers are shooting 72 percent from the line so far.

3.Bigs need to stay out of foul trouble.

Minnesota has 10 fouls at the half and seven of them have gone to key members of the Gophers’ front court. Minnesota’s Bakary Konate has three fouls, Reggie Lynch and Eric Curry each have two. Minnesota will have to cut down on fouls so the forwards can play more minutes in the second.