No joy for Gophers basketball after home loss to Northwestern

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 1, 2014 - 8:17 PM

The Gophers missed two close looks in the final seconds and lost at home to a surging Northwestern team.

view larger photos

  

 

In the aftermath of the worst loss of the season, the Gophers locker room echoed.

Many individual cubbies sat undisturbed, and the crowded showers’ pattering drowned out anything else. Charles Buggs’ usual raucous singing was absent; the few players that remained wore the last-second miss on their faces. Mo Walker, having fallen short on the Gophers’ final opportunity, was inconsolable, quietly weeping with his face buried in his jersey — emerging only to shower, then quickly returning to the same position when he was done.

Andre Hollins’ perpetually uplifting smile was perhaps missed as much in that moment as his play had been on the court, with the Gophers’ second consecutive loss, a 55-54 heartbreaker Saturday to a scrappy Northwestern team, hitting like a freight train.

“Certainly it’s good when they care,” coach Richard Pitino said. “We’ve got guys crying in the locker room … so they care about winning. That’s the first step towards building a winning program.”

But the Gophers showed they have a long way to go on Saturday, when a slow start kept them neck-and-neck with the Wildcats, and poor execution down the stretch ultimately dooming them before an announced 12,744 at Williams Arena.

Tre Demps’ three-pointer gave the Wildcats a 55-52 lead with 54 seconds to go. DeAndre Mathieu’s layup pulled the Gophers (15-7, 4-5 Big Ten) within one, and a Demps miss set up their final opportunity with 11 seconds left. Mathieu came up short and Walker missed the follow before the horn sounded.

The result ruined another big stretch by Walker (14 points, four rebounds) in the first half, and a slew of momentous plays from Austin Hollins (13 points, six rebounds) in the second.

Northwestern (12-11, 5-5) — which fed Drew Crawford for a 17-point performance — took down the Gophers one game after stunning No. 14 Wisconsin in Madison.

The Gophers had only eight turnovers and held Northwestern to 43.5 percent shooting from the floor, but the Wildcats ran rampant in a first half that highlighted all of the home team’s defensive weaknesses. Later, the Gophers repeatedly came up empty in a game that was called very lightly with both teams combining for a total of 16 trips to the free-throw line (and only eight after 32 minutes).

Northwestern got out to a 19-9 lead after connecting on five three-pointers in the first eight minutes — this from a Wildcats offense that came into Saturday ranked 316th out of 351 teams nationally.

“We didn’t do a good job in the first half of guarding the three,” Austin Hollins said. “But they were hitting some tough shots.”

With the Gophers stalling against the Wildcats’ stingy man-to-man defense, Walker picked up the momentum, breaking out for 12 first-half points and igniting a 10-0 run, much like he had done in his team’s previous home game, against Wisconsin last week.

A tip-in with 5:27 to go in the half tied the score at 23-23, but Northwestern hung around, Kale Abrahamson hitting the Wildcats’ sixth three-pointer of the half with 19 seconds left to put the Gophers in a 32-29 hole at the break.

Austin Hollins scored nine points and was a big part of the Gophers’ bolstered perimeter defense in the second half, helping to keep the Gophers alive, and igniting the Barn with a dunk to tie the score at 50-50 with 3:54 left.

It was a victory the Gophers badly could have used, with a road game against Purdue ahead, likely their fourth game without Andre Hollins, who severely sprained his left ankle Jan. 22.

“It was a tough loss,” Mathieu said. “You’re right there, you have a chance to win the game in the end, those are the worst losses. We just didn’t play well in the first half. The second half we tried to turn it on and you can’t do that in this conference. Teams are really good, everybody is good. Anybody can be beat any day, and they proved it today.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 5 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: D. O`Day 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Cleveland - LP: K. Crockett 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 5
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 5
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 15
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Lackey 2
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 3
Texas - WP: L. Bonilla 12 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 3
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: O. Despaigne 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 5
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

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.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close