The consensus prior to the game was that Michigan State was a juggernaut and that the young, struggling Gophers would have a tough time with the bigger, older Spartans. The game did not play out as planned. Minnesota hung in with the physically much larger Spartans. The game came down to rebounding. Michigan State scooped up 10 more rebounds than did the Gophers (43-33), the Spartans grabbed 33 defensive rebounds on Minnesota’s 22/65 shooting performance.
The official box score can be found here.
The Gophers fall to 6-8 on the season, 0-2 in Big Ten play. That said there were some bright spots in today’s game.
- The Gophers were never out of the game. The Spartans led by as much as ten points, but the Gophers were more often within two or three possessions of the lead.
- The play of freshman Jordan Murphy, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. Murphy, according to head coach Richard Pitino, needs to work on his free throws as he ended the day 0-4 from the line.
- Bakary Konate had an impact on many levels. Konate made 3-4 shots, blocked two balls and came up with a steal along with six rebounds. His playing time was limited due to early fouls, but his presence was felt when he was on the court.
- Nate Mason picked up the Heart of the Game award, playing 33 minutes and scoring 16 points.
The Gophers have a lot to work on, but the young team has 12 freshman or sophomore players and, if they stay together, should gain valuable experience together and be a force to be reckoned with in coming seasons.