Minnesota lost to Oklahoma State 62-60 at the Sanford Pentagon on Saturday. The Gophers fall to 5-5 on the season and have now lost three games in a row. Oklahoma State improves to 6-3. Nate Mason led all scorers with 14 points.
The Gophers looked much better on the defensive end than they had in their previous two games. Rotations were crisper, and the insertion of Dupree McBrayer into the starting lineup gave the perimeter some extra length. Nonetheless, both Bakary Konate and Jordan Murphy fouled out of the game. Minnesota's foul trouble let Oklahoma State establish an inside game throughout the second half.
The offense on the other end remained moribund. Less than a point a possession is horrible. Below 40% on a measure that is designed to take into account the additional point of a three point shot is dreadful. Minnesota as a team was 4-22 from behind the arc and 19-55 from the field. Carlos Morris was 3-15 from the field, and 1-5 from distance. At this point in the season it's simply unacceptable to have that level of volume shooting with such poor results. Then again, Morris isn't alone. Joey King was 2-7. Dupree Mcbrayer was 1-5. Kevin Dorsey was 0-5.
Ideally, Minnesota wants to run a variation of Florida's offense and Louisville's defense. At the moment, they are running a rec league basketball offense with a token pressure defense. As bad as the defensive problems are, and they are bad, the problems on offense are worse. Minnesota is in the bottom third in the country in eFG%. In the past three games, the Gophers have had a sub 40 eFG% twice. Lest one think this is a recent trend Minnesota has had a sub 50 eFG% six times this season.
The best play the Gophers ran against Oklahoma State was an isolation play to Jordan Murphy. Minnesota has at least two ball stoppers on the court at any given time. While I'm high on Kevin Dorsey's long term potential, the freshmen cannot shoot early in the season. Carlos Morris has made six shots in the last three games and taken 32. Put simply, Minnesota is running an offense that the team cannot execute.
Pitino played five freshmen, including walk on Stephon Sharp during the game. Ahmad Gilbert saw action and made a half court buzzer beater to close the first half.
Charles Buggs did not see action.