Gophers dig deep first-half hole before rally comes up short

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 12, 2013 - 10:12 PM

Embarassed in the first half, the Gophers erased most of a 23-point deficit in the second only to fall short in the end.

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BLOOMINGTON, IND. - Had this game occurred a year ago, Gophers coach Tubby Smith might have been patting players' backs after the game. Indeed, last year's lack of visible frustration -- at least to the media -- said something on its own ... just as Smith's obvious dissatisfaction after an 88-81 loss at Indiana on Saturday said a thing or two about this year's squad.

Now, there are no gold stars for making it close against the No. 5 team in the country. This year's Gophers are good enough to win.

That's why when the No. 8 Gophers (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) squandered an opportunity to potentially tie the score with 15 seconds left before an announced 17,472 at Assembly Hall, Smith was a little hard on his players afterward -- not just for failing to get the rebound off Jordan Hulls' missed free throw but for their lackluster performance in the first half that put them in that spot.

"We played very passively and they were much more aggressive, and I thought that was the difference," Smith said. "Obviously we had a chance with 15 seconds left and if we get that rebound ... we might make a three the way we were shooting at the end. But we didn't do the things during the course of the game."

Especially in the first half, when they gave up 52 points. The second half was a vastly different story, one about a Gophers team capable of coming back from a 23-point deficit by putting stifling pressure on a strong and balanced squad.

For that, Smith was impressed, noting the Gophers' "heart and toughness." But as with anything, increased success brings increased expectations: If the Gophers were good enough to be in that game at the end, they were good enough to win it.

Still, they got the chance.

Down 52-29 at halftime, the Gophers came back with improved defense -- Indiana (15-1, 3-0) shot only 28.6 percent in the second half after exploding for 65.5 percent in the first -- and with outbursts on offense. They drew back into the game by riding a barrage of three-pointers despite the fact that the Hoosiers were getting plenty of points from the free-throw line, going to the stripe 40 times in all.

When Andre Hollins was fouled on a three-point attempt with 18 seconds left, he made two of three shots to pull the Gophers within 84-81.

That's when Hulls was fouled and missed both free throws, but the Gophers couldn't grab the vital rebound. "That was the game right there," Andre Hollins said.

That the Gophers were able to get to that point shows just how much they have improved from a season ago, when deficits seemed insurmountable. This season, they have tenacity, along with the talent and aggressiveness to fight back. Once the Gophers started playing their game in the second half, they were tough to score on and tough to stop.

"They were very, very physical," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "It was tough to get open."

The only problem, of course, is that it took them so long to get there. The Gophers turned the ball over 12 times in the first half while looking bewildered by the varied defenses Indiana threw at them. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers were making seemingly every shot over a 36-14 run that spanned the final 10:08 of the half and extended their one-point lead to 23.

The second half might have proved that the Gophers belong in the conversation with the elite teams at the top of the Big Ten. At the same time, the Gophers -- who will get a quick chance for redemption Thursday when No. 2 Michigan visits -- will have to win close games against the league's top opponents if they want to challenge for the title.

"We know one game like this isn't going to dictate the rest of the season," Mbakwe said. "Whoever wins the Big Ten championship this year is going to have multiple losses, and unfortunately we had a tough loss on the road. We've just got to come home and take care of business."

  • (5) INDIANA 88, (8) GOPHERS 81 • Up next: 6 p.m. Thursday vs. (2) Michigan • Williams Arena • TV: ESPN (1500-AM)

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Buffalo 17 3rd Qtr 15:00
New England 6
Cleveland 3 3rd Qtr
Baltimore 3
Dallas 27 3rd Qtr
Washington 10
Indianapolis 17 3rd Qtr
Tennessee 7
Jacksonville 10 3rd Qtr
Houston 14
San Diego 7 3rd Qtr
Kansas City 16
NY Jets 14 3rd Qtr
Miami 17
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Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 3:30 PM
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St Johns 82
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Connecticut 59
Iona 68 2nd Half 7:54
Drexel 53
Concordia (MI) 36 2nd Half 5:48
Eastern Mich 83
Harvard 21 1st Half 4:56
Arizona State 22
Longwood 16 1st Half 7:51
Ball State 15
Sacred Heart 26 1st Half 41:
Brown 32
Colgate 23 1st Half 5:45
Columbia 27
MD-Eastern Shore 43 1st Half 3:21
Duquesne 30
UNC Greensboro 20 1st Half 5:26
East Carolina 29
Marist 10 1st Half 7:52
Elon 15
NJIT 14 1st Half 7:45
Lafayette 17
Cincinnati Christian 17 1st Half 6:25
Liberty 21
Morgan State 9 1st Half 8:17
Marquette 23
Campbell 13 1st Half 6:18
Samford 17
Bucknell 26 1st Half 6:13
Siena 25
Long Beach State 19 1st Half 10:20
Syracuse 17
Coppin State 21 1st Half 6:50
Evansville 30
UMKC 11 1st Half 7:51
Indiana State 18
Hofstra 5 1st Half 17:46
Long Island 4
Coast Guard 2:00 PM
Army
Thomas (GA) 2:00 PM
High Point
Texas Southern 2:00 PM
Kansas State
Rutgers 2:00 PM
Monmouth
NC Wesleyan 2:00 PM
NC A&T
South Dakota St 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Central Penn College 2:00 PM
Radford
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
South Florida
Harris-Stowe 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Robert Morris-IL 2:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
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North Dakota St
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South Dakota
Northwestern St 2:30 PM
Arkansas
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Cornell
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Richmond
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Xavier
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Bradley
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Fairfield
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Houston
Lehigh 4:00 PM
UMBC
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Temple
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
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Washington St
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Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 50 2nd Half 9:08
(8) Tennessee 54
Providence 49 2nd Half 7:35
Boston College 63
Florida A&M 35 2nd Half 11:27
Miami-Florida 67
Oakland 59 2nd Half 4:24
Central Michigan 60
Chattanooga 52 2nd Half 6:25
SIU-Edwardsville 46
Fairfield 57 2nd Half 1:27
La Salle 66
St Francis-PA 19 1st Half 7:04
Pittsburgh 24
Milwaukee 23 1st Half 5:47
IUPU-Ft Wayne 29
Gardner-Webb 13 1st Half 7:55
Longwood 26
New Hampshire 13 1st Half 6:57
Manhattan 19
Bucknell 23 1st Half 7:39
Binghamton 19
Northeastern 20 1st Half 5:00
Albany 22
George Mason 21 1st Half 7:08
Towson 21
Richmond 11 1st Half 8:21
William & Mary 20
Tulane 20 1st Half 5:46
Cincinnati 17
North Florida 16 1st Half 8:22
Florida 25
(14) Georgia 11 1st Half 8:06
Seton Hall 14
Tennessee St 20 1st Half 9:10
(12) Kentucky 22
American Univ 24 1st Half 3:17
Wake Forest 34
Massachusetts 25 1st Half 9:40
Boston U 16
Quinnipiac 17 1st Half 10:24
Saint Josephs 16
Lafayette 12 1st Half 6:59
Saint Peters 14
Northwestern 20 1st Half 5:32
(20) Michigan State 16
Duquesne 24 1st Half 7:01
Lehigh 23
George Washington 31 1st Half 6:18
Loyola-Maryland 13
(17) Rutgers 8 1st Half 11:21
Indiana 10
(24) Green Bay 25 1st Half 7:16
Dayton 20
Western Mich 1:30 PM
Stony Brook
Davidson 1:30 PM
Virginia
UNC Greensboro 2:00 PM
LSU
Denver 2:00 PM
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(16) Stanford
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<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

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