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Minnesota smokes Michigan 75-57

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Kelly Hagenson; gophersports.com

Minnesota evened the season series against Michigan, winning 75-57. With the win, the Gophers move to 4-4 in conference play and 11-4 on the season. Liam Robbins led all scorers with 22 points.

Damn straight Dorothy, there is no place like home. 10 days ago, Michigan beat the tar out of Minnesota at Crisler. Today, there was never a doubt who the better team was. The Gophers never trailed in the game. On defense, Minnesota was tenacious, holding the Wolverines to .81 points per possession. Michigan had more turnovers than assists. Gophers were everywhere on defense. Richard Pitino and his staff made several key adjustments on the defensive floor to keep Hunter Dickinson to just 9 points. These included immediate post-doubles, weak side shading, and simply physicality to out-muscle the talented Wolverine out of the paint. The Gophers also did a great job on every other Michigan player. The Wolverines had 20 turnovers, which Minnesota converted into 23 points. Gopher bigs jumped entry passes all night, causing havoc and keeping Michigan away from the paint.

Minnesota went in to halftime up 7 points and 0-10 from distance. For the game, the Gophers were only 4-18, which is terrible. Fortunately, in the second half they went 4-8 from distance. Even more fortunately, Liam Robbins played like an all conference center. Robbins was 3-3 from distance in the second half on his way to a 22 point performance on 8-13 shooting and 3-3 from the line. He added 8 rebounds, four on the offensive boards. Minnesota also made a concerted effort in the second half to drive the lane and make Michigan meet them at the rim instead of the three point line. When Michigan over-extended their defense to try and keep the Gophers at bay, Minnesota started making back-cuts for easy lay ups. The Gophers had 32 points in the paint and 19 assists with only 9 turnovers.

With less than three minutes to go, Juwan Howard threw up the white flag and emptied the benches.

Notes

Marcus Carr was just 6-18 from the field, and was uncharacteristically off on layups and drives tonight. He still finished with 17 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Importantly, Carr picked up three key steals throughout the game in 35 minutes. This was pretty dope as well.

Gabe Kalscheur continued to make his case for the best defender in the conference. He also made this pass, which has a degree of difficulty that the women’s gymnastics team would appreciate.

Richard Pitino once again out-coached his counterpart.

Martice Mitchell made not one but two shots in garbage time.

With the win today, Minnesota is now one of just four teams in the conference with 4 Top 25 wins. They finish the most brutal schedule stretch in the country with a 5-4 and wins over two top 10 teams. The Gophers next take on unranked Nebraska next Wednesday.