Gabe Kalscheur and the Gophers at Michigan State

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Gopher men lose third straight, all to ranked teams

NCAA hopes take a hit in blowout loss at Michigan State

February 10, 2019 - 7:17 am

   EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Golden Gophers' chances of making the NCAA tournament continue to lessen following Saturday's 79-55 pasting at the hands of Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.

   The Gophers (16-8, 6-7 Big Ten) have lost a season-high three straight games, all to ranked teams.

   The latest setback was a rout in part because the Gophers' leading scorers, Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy, combined to score just nine points after entering the game scoring more than 30 points per game.

   "We're easy to guard right now," coach Richard Pitino said.

   Minnesota's Gabe Kalscheur scored 17 points and Daniel Oturu had 12 points, starting in place of forward Eric Curry, who was out with a calf injury.

   "We need Eric back," Pitino said. "We're just a more complete team with him."

  The Spartans  (19-5, 10-3) stopped a three-game skid in front of a crowd that included former Michigan State all-American Magic Johnson, who joined his former teammates to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of winning the national championship.

   Nick Ward had 22 points and Matt McQuaid scored a season-high 18, to lead the ninth-ranked Spartans.

   "That's why you come to places like this," McQuaid said. "This place is special."

   BIG PICTURE

   Minnesota: Painfully, Pitino has found out his team is coming up short against ranked teams in the Big Ten. The Gophers closed a six-game stretch that included five games against ranked teams and beat just No. 19 Iowa and unranked Illinois.

   "We've got to get our confidence back," Gophers guard Dupree McBrayer said.

   MISSING JUD

   Johnson and Greg Kelser, who also stared on Michigan State's first national championship team, both lamented the reunion didn't include the late Jud Heathcote , their coach who died in 2017.

   "It's bittersweet without Jud," Kelser said. "We'll have fun with this, but it will be with a heavy heart."

   UP NEXT

   The Gophers play at Nebraska on Wednesday night.


 

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