Sports

Gophers Hand # 7 Michigan first defeat within the romp

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MINNEAPOLIS – When two of the Big Ten's greatest and greatest basketball players competed against each other just last week, Michigan's Hunter Dickinson hit his 7-foot-1 mark in a pivotal win over Minnesota.

Liam Robbins and his teammates went out of their way to avoid the repetition.

Robbins had 22 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes to lead Minnesota No. 23 to a 75-57 win on Saturday. This was No. 7 Michigan its first defeat, while Dickinson was held at a season low of nine points.

"We challenged Liam," You're a junior. He's a newbie. He's a really good newbie, but you have to act like the junior on this one, "said Richard Pitino, Minnesota coach.

Marcus Carr scored 17 points and Gabe Kalscheur added 10 points for the Gophers (11-4, 4-4 Big Ten), who played their seventh straight game against a team ranked in The Associated Press poll. According to Minnesota's research, this has been the most consecutive top 25 opponent by an NCAA team since St. John's faced eight opponents in 2011.

Back in their happy place after crucial defeats in Michigan and Iowa last week, the Gophers limited the Wolverines – the conference's best shooting team – to a season low and forced them to a season high of 20 sales.

"We were embarrassed about what happened at Ann Arbor and we wanted to make sure it didn't happen on our home pitch," said the 7-foot Robbins, who scored three 3-point points in the second half to help out To chase Dickinson – who has already won the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week Award five times – in five turnovers with just five shot attempts.

Eric Curry intervened, while Robbins had bad problems in the first half, ending with six points and three steals against Dickinson, who had 28 points on 12v15 in the previous game against the Gophers.

"He's probably never been in this place of frustration. He's always been the dominator, the centerpiece," said Isaiah Livers, who had 11 points for the Wolverines. "Hunter is a smart kid though. Like everyone else on this team, he's resilient."

Chaundee Brown Jr. scored 14 points for the Wolverines (11-1, 6-1), who played without Senior Guard Eli Brooks due to a foot injury from a recent training session.

Half their yard flow was a constant disturbance, the Wolverines never ran. The third leading scorer Franz Wagner remained goalless in the first half. The Gophers had a 13: 4 advantage on fast break points and a 23: 9 advantage in generating sales.

Brown waved a 3-pointer in the corner to score 41-35 13 minutes and 58 seconds before the end, but Robbins and the Gophers took over immediately after that without slacking off.

"That should be our run," said Livers. "They had a great game plan. They were prepared."

Carr & Co. attacked the basket from dribbling on the track, the best strategy for a team that attempted free throws on the country's second weekend.

"Guys, I don't know how smart I am," Pitino said to his team before the game, "but if you're last dead in three seconds, you shouldn't be the first to try."

SATURDAY IN THE BARN

The Gophers didn't play a single home game on Saturday in 2019-20. As fans cannot buy tickets this season due to COVID-19 restrictions, five of their ten home games at conferences will take place on Saturdays.

Minnesota's four defeats are recorded by an average of 20 points. All Big Ten teams are in the top 14 in the last poll and are not at home.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: Fresh after the 77: 54 win over Wisconsin No. 9, a third win with more than 19 points in as many matchups with ranked opponents, the Wolverines played like a Final Four team. At some point in this charged league, there was a setback.

"This loss here is one we will learn from," said coach Juwan Howard.

Minnesota: The Gophers have amassed so many quality wins that it would be a disappointment to just receive a general NCAA tournament offer.

EFFECT ON REQUEST

Michigan has done enough to stay in the top 10 when the next AP poll is released on Monday. Minnesota, the lowest of six Big Ten teams, will undoubtedly move up several places.

NEXT

Michigan: hosted Maryland on Tuesday.

Minnesota: Visit Nebraska Wednesday.

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Melinda Martin