Halftime lead melts away in Gophers loss at Ohio State

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2014 - 12:36 AM

Ohio State trailed by 12 after halftime, before a 17-0 run wiped out the visitors.

hide

Minnesota's Austin Hollins, right, tips the ball away from Ohio State's Lenzelle Smith during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Photo: Jay LaPrete, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– DeAndre Mathieu shoved his luggage under the team bus, turned around to face the small cluster of reporters waiting for him and heaved a deep sigh.

“Here we go again,” the Gophers point guard said.

It’s hard to blame him for being exhausted.

Exhausted by his basketball team putting up big leads it can’t sustain. Exhausted by watching one meaningful game after another slip through the Gophers’ fingers. Exhausted by trying to explain the same follies and shortcomings after each one.

Because at this point, such performances are a little too familiar.

Saturday night at Ohio State, the Gophers had an opportunity to rise to the occasion and tip dwindling NCAA tournament odds in their favor. Instead, they perpetuated the same struggles that have plagued them all season, letting up on their intensity when they needed it the most.

Unable to conjure the strong play that took them to a double-digit halftime lead, and unable to find an answer for the high-flying Buckeyes in the second half, the Gophers looked nothing short of defeated as they walked off the Value City Arena court after limping to a 64-46 loss.

“I think the hardest challenge for our team is going to be our mental toughness now,” said a watery-eyed and visibly angry Andre Hollins, who led the Gophers with 13 points.

“Physically I think we’re fine. I think it’s the mental aspect of the game we’re going to have to conquer.”

The 24th-ranked Buckeyes (22-6, 9-6 Big Ten) scored as many points (46) in the second half as the Gophers did all game, converting 56.7 percent of their shots after being held to 27.3 percent shooting in the first half.

After a quick layup from Mathieu at the start of the second half put the Gophers up 30-18, Ohio State held the Gophers without a basket for nearly seven minutes, going on a 17-0 run to take a 35-30 lead.

Sam Thompson (19 points, four rebounds) proved to be unstoppable, particularly in transition.

The 6-7 junior forward scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes — including a stretch of 10 consecutive Ohio State points — while his three dunks had the announced crowd of 18,809 screaming with glee.

Meanwhile, the Gophers (17-11, 6-9), who had only four turnovers in the first half, had nine in the second, some of them drawing comparisons to their previous game, their particularly sloppy home loss to last-place Illinois on Wednesday.

“We hijack ourselves,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “We don’t allow ourselves to win. We do some things turnover-wise that are just inexplicable, and they lead to baskets for them. You can’t do that against a very good team.”

The Gophers led 28-18 at halftime — their strong defensive effort, 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line and solid ballhandling making up for a sluggish offensive start.

But, as it has all year, keeping that advantage proved to be another task altogether.

With the Gophers teetering on the edge of the NCAA tournament bubble, they still have two opportunities to gain another victory over a ranked team in their next two games, but they know their chances are quickly running out.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Ohio State 64, Gophers basketball 46

    Saturday February 22, 2014

  • Postgame: Manner of Gophers' losses are becoming a trend

    Saturday February 22, 2014

    It felt a little like same old, same old when the Gophers let a strong lead evaporate in the second half.

  • Gophers-Ohio State recap

    Saturday February 22, 2014

    GAME RECAPImpact playerSam Thompson, Ohio StateThe Gophers didn’t have an answer for the athletic forward in the second half. Thompson...

  • Gophers center Maurice Walker tried to drive against Ohio State’s Trey McDonald during the first half Saturday night. Walker had four points and two rebounds before fouling out after 17 minutes.

  • No. 24 ohio state 64, gophers 46

    Up next: 6 p.m. Tuesday vs. Iowa

    Williams Arena • TV: BTN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close