UMN men’s basketball drops 2 home games after knocking off Ohio

Minnesota struggled to find its rhythm against Illinois and Purdue in two consecutive double-digit losses.

Forward+Jamison+Battle+dribbles+down+the+court+in+a+game+against+the+University+of+Wisconsin+on+Feb.+23%2C+2022+at+Williams+Arena+in+Minneapolis%2C+Minn.+

Forward Jamison Battle dribbles down the court in a game against the University of Wisconsin on Feb. 23, 2022 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.

by Alex Karwowski

Jan. 16 vs. Illinois
After their first Big Ten win of the season against Ohio State, the Gophers came home to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini.

The first half was a tight race between both teams as they went back and forth on the scoreboard, neither team letting the other take a prominent lead. The first half ended with the Gophers down by only three, the score 32-35.

The Fighting Illini exploded with a 12-0 run in the second half to give them the advantage later in the game, ultimately resulting in their victory, 70-68. The Gophers were out-rebounded 50-29 and out-scored 54-28 in the paint.

Dawson Garcia finished with a team-high of 17 points, which was his eighth-straight double-digit scoring output. Ta’Lon Cooper also recorded his fourth-straight double-digit scoring output with 16 points in the matchup.

Jan. 19 vs. Purdue
After a disappointing loss to Illinois, the Gophers returned to Williams Arena Thursday to host the No. 3 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.

In the first half, Purdue held the Gophers to 12 points. To make matters worse, Minnesota was playing without freshman guard Braeden Carrington, who suffered a right leg stress fracture and will be sidelined for approximately four weeks. His status will be reevaluated after that time.

The Gophers struggled throughout the night, mainly because of the Boilermakers’ 7-foot-4-inch center Zach Edey and 6-foot guard Braden Smith. Edey had 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks against the Gophers, whereas Smith led the Boilermakers with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Minnesota’s two top scorers, Jamison Battle and Garcia, shot a combined three for 22 from the floor, with Battle going scoreless for the first time in his college career.

Head coach Ben Johnson emphasized the mental game of basketball when asked about the Gophers’ 61-39 loss on Thursday.

“There’s a reason why we talk about being in the gym all the time because in times of doubt, you have to be able to rely on your product and your work,” he said. “When you’re struggling, the inner confidence comes when you know you have put in the time and you just have to stick with it.”

Next on the Gophers’ schedule is a home game against the Indiana Hossiers at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.