CHICAGO – Isaiah Washington saw the court for the first time in five games for the Gophers when he came off bench in Saturday’s Big Ten tournament semifinal loss against Michigan.
Washington, a sophomore point guard, tried to think about the team when Gophers coach Richard Pitino decided not to play him for the past three regular-season games and the first two wins in the Big Ten tourney.
The former four-star recruit from New York missed his only shot, but Washington had two assists and three fouls in 11 minutes against the Wolverines. He was averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 assists in 16 minutes in 26 games.
“I’m just going to keep doing everything I can to help my team, whether I’m on the court or off the court,” Washington said. “At the end of the day, it’s a team thing. Coach is captain of the ship, so we’re just going to keep rolling with him.”
The Wolverines didn’t make it easy on Washington, but he said it should prepare him and other reserves for the NCAA tournament.
“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “They have a great culture, and they’re competing for a championship.”
The Gophers, because of injuries and the lopsided score in the second half, went deeper into their bench, which included walk-on Brady Rudrud playing two minutes. Freshman forward Jarvis Omersa, who hadn’t played in 10 games this season, also had three points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.
“I just tried to soak it all up,” Omersa said. “We played a really good, great Michigan team. I think they’re going to win it. Me and all the bench players just tried to take advantage of every single rep we could get.”
Stockman misses semis
Gophers senior backup center Matz Stockman missed Saturday’s game with a concussion.Stockman didn’t play in the last 10 minutes Friday after suffering a blow to the head in the second half against Purdue.
The 7-footer had been the first frontcourt player off the bench after sophomore big man Eric Curry was lost for the season with a ligament injury in his foot. “We’ll see if we can get Matz back” this week, Pitino said. “I do think he’s important.”