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Minnesota loses to Purdue 73-63

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NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota lost to Purdue on the road 73-63. With the loss, the Gophers are now 6-5 in conference play. The magic number remains at 4. Amir Coffey led all scorers with 22.

I am not sure what to feel about this one. Given how the actual game played out, this should be a missed opportunity for the Gophers. Minnesota was up 13 points early in the second half and then crumbled against a 18-2 Purdue run. During that stretch, the usual culprits were to blame. Stagnant motion on offense. Bad shot selection early in the possession. A complete inability to call out a back screen. On the other hand, Purdue was favored by about 10-12 points and won by 10. Minnesota does not appreciably fall in rankings as a result of this game, and nothing changes about the long-term season picture.

There are two general concerns that should carry over. First, it was not a coincidence that Carson Edwards and Ryan Cline scored the majority of their points when they were not guarded by Gabe Kalscheur and Amir Coffey respectively. Secondary defenders, most notably Dupree McBrayer, were late on closeouts and often in poor position on three point attempts. Second, the shot selection at key points in the game was, hmm, strange? Yeah, let’s go with strange. Credit Purdue for locking in defensively during the run, but Minnesota also became very passive and willing to settle for early (bad) shots or late (bad) shots instead of keeping up the attacking pressure. Against any team in the conference, that tendency will hurt the team. Against the best teams in the conference, it means a loss.

Individual Notes

Daniel Oturu had himself a game. The freshman almost scored a point per minute on 9-15 shooting and added 9 rebounds. Oturu also flashed a smooth 15 foot mid range game. If that continues, opponents are going to have to leave the post, and Murphy will be the recipient of a bunch of hi-lo action. I continue to be impressed by Oturu’s freshman season, particularly each addition to his offensive arsenal.

Amir Coffey had an excellent game as well. Coffey finished with 22 points on 8-13 shooting, was 5-6 from the free throw line, one of just two players on Minnesota to make a three point shot, and added three rebounds, a steal, and an assist.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, besides Coffey and Washington hitting one apiece, Minnesota missed every other three point attempt. Kalscheur was 0-5, McBrayer was 0-3, and both Curry and Murphy missed their only attempts. Washington missed two, but one is forgiven because it was a last second heave to beat the shot clock. Minnesota is not going to be a good three point shooting team this year, but 2-16 is as much shot selection as it is poor shooting.

On a positive note, Minnesota was 81% from the foul line. Two of the misses were one of ones (boo), but 81% is an excellent performance from the free throw line.

Purdue somehow forgot that hand checks were a point of emphasis for officials this year. Mackey Arena did too.