The Gophers had to adjust to life without Liam Robbins for another game with their starting center sidelined again because of an ankle injury for Saturday night's 78-74 loss at Nebraska.
The Gophers have lost five games in a row since Robbins' injury. The 7-foot junior was averaging 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a Big Ten-leading 2.7 blocks until missing Thursday night's 67-59 home loss to Northwestern.
"I don't want to use injuries as excuses," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. "But of course, we're missing him."
Robbins suffered a sprained left ankle in the second half of the Gophers' Feb. 11 home victory vs. Purdue, but he played the next three games hobbled. That backfired with him averaging only 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in losses to Maryland, Indiana and Illinois.
For the second game in a row, the Gophers started 6-9 senior Eric Curry in place of Robbins. Curry had eight points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes Saturday.
After sitting Robbins out of practice and missing two games, Pitino hopes to get him back for Wednesday's game at Penn State. He was wearing a protective boot on the bench against the Cornhuskers.
Northwestern and Nebraska weren't known for having a strong post presence, but Pitino lacked much depth behind Robbins. Sophomore Sam Freeman played just seven minutes behind Curry against the Cornhuskers, who outscored the Gophers 38-24 in points in the paint.
In the Gophers' five victories over ranked opponents this season, Robbins averaged 19 points, nine rebounds and 3½ blocks, including vs. Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa.