Richard Pitino has complained that fans cannot see his Gophers men’s basketball team in person at the Williams Arena this season, especially on Saturday afternoons when The Barn would be able or near capacity to see their leaderboard . That Saturday, the lack of witnesses was a blessing in disguise.
If Minnesota fans were there, they would have probably buried their heads in their hands because of an ugly performance in a 63-49 loss to Maryland.
The Gophers in 17th had won all eleven previous games at The Barn and were the only Big Ten programs with Michigan with unbeaten grades at home – albeit in mostly empty places during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gophers (11-5, 4-5 Big Ten) had emerged from eight direct conference games against high-ranking opponents with 0.500, but could not create a separation against teams below them in the overall standings such as Maryland (9-7, 3) -6).
Marcus Carr finished the race with more than half the U points with 25 points and Jamal Mashburn Jr. contributed nine points from the bench, but this is where the U’s attacking options ended.
A week ago, Minnesota had saved Michigan’s # 7 offense against a season low of 33 percent in a 75:57 win, but Maryland looked good in the first half, shooting 54 percent off the field and 45 percent Percent from the depth during the break.
Gophers center Liam Robbins, the reigning Big Ten player of the week, scored three fouls in the first two minutes of the second half. With a foul in the first half, he was relegated to the bench for 11 minutes. He finished with six points and three blocks.
The Gophers crawled out the gate to start the game, and Maryland never got stuck. The smaller Terrapins brought in double teams of 7-foot Robbins and took away one of the U’s top offensive options.
The Terrapins took a 17-3 lead and mingled in some zone defense, but Carr and Mashburn bonded for a 14-3 run to bring the deficit to 20-17.
But Minnesota’s defense continued to let them down, ditching gazes on the edge and the 3-point line, and Maryland resumed the lead with a 13-6 boost. They led 36-27 in half.
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