The Gophers men’s basketball team was perturbed at their no-show in a blowout loss to Illinois in the Big Ten opener three weeks ago. “Obliterated,” head coach Richard Pitino described it then.
There was deja vu against Michigan on Wednesday.
After trailing by only six at the half, 16th-ranked Minnesota fell behind quickly and by as many as 37 in an 82-57 loss to No. 10 Michigan at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Pitino has said COVID-era away games feel more like neutral-site contests without many if any fans in arenas, but Minnesota continues to struggle away from Williams Arena. The U is 10-0 at The Barn and 0-3 on the road.
Michigan remains the last undefeated Big Ten program and at 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have established themselves as the frontrunners through one-fourth of the conference schedule.
The game’s top matchup was between 7-footers: Gophers’ Liam Robbins vs. Wolverines’ Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson, the Big Ten freshman of the week, got the best of Robbins, the Oscar Robertson national player of the week.
Dickinson, who leads the Big Ten with a 72 percent field-goal percentage, had a career-high 28 points. Robbins finished with five points, none in the second half.
Dickinson was a handful from the start, with a game-high 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half.
The Wolverines led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but Marcus Carr’s solo 6-0 run cut it in half to give Minnesota some hope. After starting 1 for 5 from the field, he nailed two three-pointers and made the U’s first two free throws of the game to make it 32-26 at the break.
The Gophers had 12 turnovers and six assists. In the first half, they had eight turnovers, which led to 11 points for the Wolverines.
Point guard Marcus Carr, who was named to the Wooden Award midseason Top 25 list on Wednesday, continues to struggle on the road. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting after having 16 points against the Illini and 10 in the loss to Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve. He shot 3 for 13 in both those games.