Gophers men’s basketball continues to struggle on road after another double-digit loss

The Gophers are still waiting on their first road win of the season, losing to Purdue 62-81.


Kamaan Richards

Gophers Guard Marcus Carr prepares to inbound the ball at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Minnesota defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 75-69

AJ Condon, Sports Reporter

The two-sided Gophers men’s basketball team was in full effect as it suffered another road loss at the hands of Purdue. After playing their best half on the road, Minnesota saw its five-point lead in the first half turn into a double-digit loss. The Gophers are now 0-5 in road games, losing each game by double digits.

“We just need to play a full 40 minutes. I think this team has shown, in spurts, what it can be capable of. There’s been a few games where we’ve really dominated,” junior Liam Robbins said. “We played a great 20 minutes but the back half was a little rough and you just can’t do that in this league.”

The second half felt more like a Gophers’ road game as they struggled to find the bottom of the net and turned the ball over while seeing their lead diminish. After having just three first half turnovers, the Gophers were more careless with the ball and had eight turnovers in the second half.

The Gophers were hitting threes in the first half, but it was the opposite story in the second. The Boilermakers went 0-of-5 from deep in the first half, but found their stroke in the second and made the Gophers pay.

The biggest struggles on the Gophers side came from redshirt junior Marcus Carr, who couldn’t seem to find his groove. Carr has struggled on the road all season and that continued against the Boilermakers as he went scoreless in the first.

Besides his five assists, Carr had one of his worst performances of the season. He couldn’t find a way to get going and went 2-of-13 from the field as he scored just six points.

It wasn’t just the offense that wasn’t producing for the Gophers in the second half. Purdue was finally able to see some threes drop and shot 8-of-10 from deep in the second.

“That was defensive breakdowns and offensive rebounds,” Gophers’ coach Richard Pitino said about Purude’s shooting from deep. ”We got a little bit tired and didn’t rotate. We just got to get better; this league is not forgiving at all, and Purdue is obviously terrific in this building.”

On top of the three pointers, Purdue was winning the rebounding game on both ends. Their 17 offensive boards led to 21 second chance points and was one of the biggest differences in the loss.

“I think the offensive rebounding really hurt us. I thought we were playing pretty good defense, and they wore us down on the glass,” Pitino said. “They had 17 offensive rebounds and you could tell we wore down a little bit. Their physicality just grinded us down.”

Robbins was about the only Gopher who shined in the 19-point loss. The Big Ten leader in blocks made his presence felt in the paint and came up with six blocks to go along with his team-high 15 points.

First half

The Gophers got off to a hot start in the most abnormal way. Carr and Robbins weren’t the biggest contributors early, but instead, Minnesota was feeling hot from deep.

One of the worst three-point-shooting teams in the nation was hitting shots left and right, and the production was coming from all over. Redshirt senior Eric Curry was among the hot hands and gave the Gophers a spark off the bench, hitting two triples in the first half.

Sophomore Tre’ Williams got his first start of the season, earning the start over junior Both Gach, and he got in on the shooting fun. Williams hit a three early and another one late. He finished the first half with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.

“I thought we needed a switch at that spot,” Pitino said. “We just weren’t getting a lot of production from there and just think we needed to just get some different looks.”

After a tough start to the season, junior Gabe Kalscheur was able to find his stroke and hit a pair of threes.

A team that has struggled all year from deep was uncharacteristically hitting shots in the first half to put them in front against a hot Purdue team. They started off the game shooting 6-of-8 from deep, but were brought back to reality finishing 7-of-16 in the half.

One of the reasons for the small lead at halftime: offensive rebounds. The Gophers were doing everything well on the defensive end, except for finishing possessions. Purdue went into halftime with an 11-5 advantage on the offensive glass to keep the Boilermakers in the game.

Carr didn’t have a standout half by any means – as he was held scoreless – but still managed to make his presence felt. He was able to dish out four dimes to help bolster the Gophers to a 35-30 first half lead.

Robbins, another Gopher who didn’t find the score sheet as much as he’s used to, made his presence felt on the defensive side. To go along with a triple, Robbins picked up four blocks in the first half. After finding himself back in foul trouble last game, the junior held his own against Purdue’s Trevion Williams and Zach Edey.

Hitting the road again

The Gophers are back in action Feb. 4 as they travel to New Jersey to face the Scarlet Knights and will still be looking for their first road win of the season.