The Free Press, Mankato, MN

NCAA Basketball

February 21, 2013

Minnesota embarrassed by Ohio State

— Both the Minnesota Gophers and Ohio State basketball teams came into Value City Arena in desperate need of a win on Wednesday — but after a lethargic start for each, only one adopted a sense of urgency and found a way to snap out of it.

As a result, the Gophers lost a consecutive blowout, falling, 71-45, in a game in which Athletic Director Norwood Teague and Associate AD Mike Ellis sat courtside.

“We came out and got embarrassed by Ohio State,” Andre Hollins said. “You don’t want to lose like that, especially this time of year. This time of year, teams are playing their best basketball and we’re not playing our best basketball obviously. So we’ve got to turn it around.”

But Minnesota is having a tough time doing that in a single game, much less the season as a whole, which after eight losses in 11 games has careened off the tracks.

The Gophers (18-9, 6-8 Big Ten) have scored 53 points or fewer in each of their last four losses, failing to shoot greater than 38 percent in any of those. And turnovers — a problem since Game 1 — don’t seem to be going away any time soon. Minnesota had a season-high 24 against Ohio State.

The No. 18 Buckeyes (19-7, 9-5) didn’t look inspired at the start either, but in the second half they broke out of their early funk and quickly left the Gophers — who were similarly overwhelmed by Iowa on Sunday — in the dust.

Hollins was the only Gophers starter who scored more than four points, with Rodney Williams — who started despite a sore left shoulder — and Joe Coleman putting up zeros. Williams and Coleman each got two fouls quickly in the first half and finished with just eight and 12 minutes, respectively. Those performances hardly contended with Deshaun Thomas’ 19-point effort and the Buckeyes’ bench contributions from Shannon Scott (11 points, five assists) and LaQuinton Ross (10 points).

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