THE FACTS: Rutgers ended a 32-game conference losing streak by absolutely dominating the Golden Gophers from the opening tip. Very quickly the Gophers trailed 21-2 and never were able to recover eventually falling 75-52. Starting a walk-on with two more coming off the bench, Minnesota was missing the vast majority of their production due to suspensions, injuries and dismissals that have occurred over the last few weeks. The Scarlet Knights were led by Mike Williams off the bench who poured in 29 points to lead all scorers.
THE STAT: Here come some numbers, but this math is fascinating to me. At halftime the Gophers trailed by 25 points. They took 40 shots while Rutgers took just 28. So we took 12 more shots than our opponent AND trailed by 25 points!!??!! Obviously that is possible when you shoot just 15% (6/40) and the other team shoots a decent 46% (13/28). Rutgers adds more from the free throw line than we did and made more threes so that helps with the margin. 40 shots to their 28 and losing by 25 is incredible.
TURNING POINT: Once again the turning point for this game came a couple days before the tipoff. Joey King broke his foot near the end of the Wisconsin game and it was announced this week that he would be missing the rest of the season. With King, the Gophers had some stability and a shooting threat from the outside. Without their lone senior, just too much burden was going to be placed on the freshman Murphy and walk-ons needing to play significant minutes.
HOT: Rutgers' sophomore guard, Mike Williams notched career highs in points and three pointers made in a game. He was 6/8 from three, he was 9/10 from the free throw line and he ended with 29 points while only playing 24 minutes. Impressive line for the young man.
NOT: Jordan Murphy struggled this afternoon. 3/21 from the floor for just 7 points and he added 3 turnovers. Murphy was just off from the get-go. Partially Rutgers was able to concentrate him without feeling the need to respect anyone else for the Gophers. And partially Murphy just had a difficult time putting the ball in the hole. Ahmad Gilbert wasn't much better shooting 3/12, also contributing 7 points. Those two freshmen are really the two we need to contribute for the current make-up of this team to have any shot of winning.
BAD MOVE: Boarding the flight to New Jersey.
UP NEXT: Big Ten Tournament round 1 on Wednesday at 4:30. Gophers were already locked into the 13-seed and will face the 12-seed (currently Illinois but they play at Penn State which could alter the standings).