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Gophers men’s basketball’s losing streak now up to 7

Minnesota’s conference struggles continued with a pair of blowout losses against Rutgers and Maryland.
Image by CJ Bonk
The team huddles between plays during their game against Indiana on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Feb. 1 vs. Rutgers
The Gophers headed east for a Wednesday night battle with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Gophers challenged one of the Big Ten’s best without leading scorer (14.9 PPG) Dawson Garcia (bruised foot) and Braeden Carrington (leg fracture), who remained out with injuries.

Rutgers started the matchup with an 18-7 lead, but Minnesota responded with a 13-4 run over the next five-plus minutes to shorten their deficit, highlighted by freshman Joshua Ola-Joseph making his third three-pointer of the season.

The slow paced battle continued, and Rutgers managed to close the half with a 34-24 lead. Ta’Lon Cooper led Minnesota with 9 points and 6 rebounds at the break, while Ola-Joseph was close behind with 7 points.

The Scarlet Knights opened the second half on a 14-4 run and never looked back. Minnesota struggled to find any rhythm, and Rutgers’ lead only grew, ending at 90-55.

Minnesota’s loss was its biggest this season. It was their biggest loss in nearly two decades dating back to 2001 when they lost to Indiana by 36.

Freshman Joshua Ola-Joseph, who hit a career-high 17 points and added a career-high eight rebounds, led the Gophers.

Feb. 4 vs. Maryland
On the 95th anniversary of the first game ever played at Williams Arena, the Gophers were set to take on the Maryland Terrapins in a late-night showdown, but they remained shorthanded with Garcia and Carrington still rehabbing from their injuries.

By the end of the first half, the Gophers were trailing by 20 points. Freshman Pharrel Payne led the team with 12 points, but Maryland found too much success offensively, led by Donta Scott with 11 points.

With only 25 more points to add in the second half, it was a night to forget for the Maroon & Gold as they were dominated by the Terrapins losing 81-46.

Similarly to the Gophers’ game on Jan. 28 against Northwestern, much of this game came down to turnovers. Maryland forced 16 turnovers, while the Gophers forced only five.

Pharrel Payne led the Gophers with a team-high 14 points, adding 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, compared to Maryland’s Julian Reese, who led his team with 16 points and 5 rebounds.

The Gophers were scheduled to head south on Tuesday to take on the No. 3 ranked team in the Big Ten, Illinois, but the game was postponed due to some team members testing positive for COVID-19. The Gophers are scheduled to play Iowa at home on Sunday at noon.

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