This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Gophers postgame: A game well-played, but another opportunity missed at Michigan State

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: January 11, 2014 - 6:45 PM

Read my full game story on the 87-75 Gophers' loss here.

Read my side bar on Malik Smith's special kind of clutchness here.

For about 30 minutes, the Gophers played with incredible poise and basketball intelligence. But in the end, it was the final five minutes that mattered, and Minnesota didn't show up for those.

It's hard to not view Saturday's close loss at Michigan State as a moral victory -- after all, the Gophers weren't really supposed to compete, much less nearly win. They put together one of the best games they've played (certainly at least early and late) and forced overtime in one of the most intimidating venues in college basketball. All of that should be applauded. The Gophers came ready for challenge and played up to their competition. They shot really, really well in the first half. They handled the ball. And even after they went through one of their trending "down" periods, they fought back at the end of regulation to force overtime. That takes serious maturity, something I wasn't sure Minnesota was ready to show.

But when asked about the positives after the game, Elliott Eliason could only shake his head.

"It's hard to say that now," he said. "It's just so disappointing right now. I'm sure we'll look at the film tomorrow, we'll look at the missed opportunities and we'll see then, but right now it's hard to distance yourself and see those things."

Because the reality is the Gophers could be 4-0 in the Big Ten right now. They were given a gift with Mitch McGary out -- and then Glenn Robinson III out for most of the second half -- against Michigan, and they were given a gift again when Adreian Payne (sore right foot) didn't suit up for Michigan State today. Certainly, in the  case of the latter, the Spartans are still an extremely good team even without Payne, but losing one of their top two players hobbled them in a meaningful way.

"There was so much inside-out attack with Adreian Payne," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. "He's probably a top five pick, so when I heard he wasn't playing, I don't want him to be hurt but that was a nice pleasant surprise right before the game because he's a great player. He changes a lot of the game because he's improved so much."

Playing a team that was forced to go without him -- and then immediately getting off to a very strong start -- gave the Gophers an opportunity to secure a signature win they'll need come selection time if they hope to get an NCAA tournament berth. As Pitino pointed out, the Gophers have plenty more chances, but with Ohio State (home), Iowa (away) and Wisconsin (home) on deck, the road doesn't get any easier. Minnesota isn't going to keep getting gifts of the best opposing player sitting on the bench. And frankly, the Gophers can't rely on hot shooting to pave their way through an extremely deep Big Ten.

Saturday's game had plenty of positives. The Gophers showed they belonged on the national stage. But those of us who have watched a lot of this team knows they are nowhere close to having "made it." And they really could have used that win.

Other notes on tonight's game:

* Minnesota has NEVER beaten a top 5 team in a true home game in the history of the program. That's sort of unbelievable.

* The Gophers did a good defensive job on Michigan State for most of regulation with the exception of one player, Kenny Kaminski, who lit Minnesota up for five three-pointers. The Gophers did shut down the versatile freshman a little better in the second, when he made just one shot from behind the arc.

* Calling Austin Hollins. Your party has entered the Big Ten. The senior once again produced a lackluster offensive performance, finishing with seven points, but picking up five rebounds.

*Adreian Payne doesn't have a fracture but is simply dealing with soreness, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "He wanted to go last game, he didn't feel he could go this game," he sai. "Nothing medically wrong that we can observe." Izzo also said that Gary Harris is far from being at full-strength.


New Orleans 7:25 PM
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 33 2nd Qtr 9:34
Orlando 27
Detroit 7:00 PM
New York 7:00 PM
Utah 7:30 PM
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 0 1st Prd :56
Buffalo 0
Winnipeg 1 2nd Prd
New Jersey 0
Los Angeles 0 1st Prd :52
Pittsburgh 2
Chicago 0 1st Prd 19:26
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 16:31
Tampa Bay 1
Arizona 0 1st Prd 16:18
Florida 0
San Jose 7:00 PM
Anaheim 7:00 PM
St. Louis
NY Islanders 8:00 PM
Montreal 9:00 PM
(2) Florida State 0 1st Qtr 8:55
Louisville 0
Troy 0 1st Qtr 11:16
Ga Southern 7
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 7:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent 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 TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




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