After starting the season 6-0 the luck of the Gophers finally ran out in a road contest against Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as Minnesota fell to the Seminoles 75-67 in what felt more like a double-digit loss.
Things were actually looking up for the Gophers for the first half, as the team went to halftime with a 2-point lead 33-31, even after running into major foul trouble with their frontcourt.
But foul trouble, FSU’s size and overall offensive ineffectiveness would eventually doom the Gophers, who had trouble getting any sort of momentum both from the field and from the free throw line. The team shot only 33% from the field and never really had a solid run to get them back in the game until garbage time. Things only got worse as the half wore on as the team looked like they packed it in around the 9-minute mark. They found themselves down by as many as 19 as the Seminoles used their interior presence to lean on the Gophers and force the issue. Minnesota was unable to respond.
Amir Coffey was lost early in the second half when he inexplicably picked up his 4th foul, forcing him to the bench. Reggie Lynch failed to score until late in game and was ineffective down low.
In total the Gophers racked up an incredible 28 fouls and turned the ball over 17 times. It’s hard to win when you couple that with such awful offensive execution.
Oh, and did I mention the free throws? Once again Minnesota shot blindfolded from the line, hitting an embarrassing 61% (22-36). Imagine if they’d shot even 80%? WOW, ONE-POINT GAME! Seriously, leaving 14 points on the table makes me a little nauseous.
Granted, it was only the first loss of the season for the Gophers, who weren’t expected to win this one in the first place. Florida State is a good team with a couple of NBA-ready guys who can cause matchup nightmares, and was ranked in the top 25 as recently as last week.
But it’s still frustrating to see Minnesota play at such a low level after having run rampant over decent competition in recent weeks. It’s another reminder that this team is young and prone to bouts of immaturity, especially on the road. They were thoroughly unprepared to deal with Florida State’s size and became completely unhinged when things got a little difficult in the second half. They found their footing, sorta, but it was far too late to do anything about it.
That’s the scary part .. the unhinging. Hopefully it’s a mirage and not a sign of how this team will deal adversity this season, because it will assuredly become more difficult when they play in tougher environments than Tallahassee on a Monday night.