Gophers men’s gameday
2 p.m. VS. (1) Michigan State • Williams Arena • ESPN2, 1500-AM
About the Gophers (6-7, 0-1): They have lost two in a row and five of six after getting thumped 78-63 in their Big Ten opener at Ohio State on Wednesday. After falling behind by as many as 15 in the first half, the Gophers charged back and took a two-point lead in the second. But when freshman forward Jordan Murphy — who had recorded five double-doubles in his previous six games — sat after picking up his fourth foul with 13:47 to go, the game changed. Ohio State used a 20-3 run to leave the Gophers in the dust. The eight assists the Gophers collected at Columbus marked the fourth time they have finished with eight or fewer assists this season. The Gophers have shot worse than 40 percent from the floor in five of their past six games. Freshmen guard Kevin Dorsey returned from a one-game absence because of a left heel injury on Wednesday, finishing with four points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.
About Michigan State (13-1, 0-1): The Spartans have been ranked No. 1 the past four weeks after beating Kansas, Providence, Louisville and Florida, but they lost their Big Ten opener 83-70 at Iowa on Tuesday, one night after coach Tom Izzo’s father died. That was the second consecutive game the Spartans were without national Player of the Year candidate Denzel Valentine (18.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 7.1 apg), who underwent a minor knee scope surgery last month. He is expected to miss Saturday’s game as well, according to the Detroit News, and maybe one or two more. In his absence, Bryn Forbes scored 32 points in a 99-93 an overtime victory over Oakland, but he managed only three vs. Iowa. Michigan State never led in that game, and trailed by at least 10 or more for the entire second half. Eron Harris is starting in Valentine’s spot, and he scored 21 points Tuesday.