Shorthanded Gophers fight en masse but lose 61-57 to Indiana

Gophers head coach Ben Johnson allowed himself to look ahead to the upcoming season when asked a few questions about basketball philosophy Tuesday.

“Hopefully next year is the year that (we can) have the full 13 scholarship corps,” Johnson said in his pregame news conference. “We just haven’t had that in two years.”

With two more players unavailable Wednesday, the Gophers had roughly half that roster max against Indiana at Williams Arena. Minnesota, an 11-point underdog, still came in droves but fell short late, 61-57, against the Hoosiers.

Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) goes up to the basket against Minnesota forward Joshua Ola-Joseph (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Minneapolis. Indiana won 61-57. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

“Everybody contributed ten times over and what I’m most proud of is their fight, their toughness and their courage,” Johnson said after the game. “They were rudimentary.”

Minnesota was left with seven scholarship players after Gophers leading scorer Dawson Garcia and top freshman Pharrel Payne were ruled out Wednesday afternoon, a week after Braeden Carrington suffered a stroke reaction. leg stress. Pre-existing late-season injuries to forwards Isaiah Ihnen and Parker Fox have left the U without a complete ordeal since the start of the season.

That number dwindled to five as Josh Ola-Joseph dealt with a calf cramp in the second half and former player Will Ramberg, who is dealing with a leg injury, was not called up to come off the bench.

As if what plagued Minnesota could spread, Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson was out with COVID-19, and associate head coach Yasir Rosemond took over.

Indiana’s star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis played Wednesday, and the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week inflicted pain on the Gophers. His backlay layup on Race Thompson’s missed free throw with 43 seconds left gave Indiana a 59-57 lead. Jackson-Davis finished with 25 points and 20 rebounds.

Jamison Battle played all 40 minutes and led Minnesota with 20 points, including four 3-pointers.

“I don’t really look at the minutes too much just because you’re playing the game that you love,” Battle said. “You don’t really take it for granted when you play 40 minutes. Yes, you’re tired, at the end of the game, but as long as I can look in the mirror that I worked the hardest, I’m fine playing 40 minutes.”

Ta’Lon Cooper played 35 minutes and Treyton Thompson, who has barely come off the bench in recent games, went nearly 37 minutes before fouling, forcing Ola-Joseph to return.

The Gophers started the game on a zone defense and mixed the types of zone schemes. The wrinkle threw the Hoosiers off (they lost five turnovers in the first eight minutes) and helped Minnesota take a 13-12 lead.

Minnesota (7-12, 1-8 Big Ten) led most of the first half, but Indiana (14-6, 5-4) went on a 15-6 run to give them a 33-30 lead in the first half. half. .

In the second half, Minnesota went on a 7-0 run to tie the game 47-47 with 10 minutes remaining and the Barn crowd was appreciative of what the makeshift roster was able to do.

But Minnesota missed its last 11 shots, with tired legs part of the equation, and the Hoosiers went on a 7-0 run to end the game.

Garcia’s absence was expected after he suffered a bruised bone in his foot in a 60-56 loss to Michigan on Sunday. Payne’s unavailability, due to concussion protocol, was a surprise, but it also came at the Wolverines game when he went down hard to the ground, Johnson said.

Add Comment