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Gophers coach Richard Pitino was 'focused on what we have,' not Reggie Lynch

Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino shouts instructions to his players as they play Illinois in the first half at of a NCAA basketball game at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. John Autey / Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL—Gophers mens basketball coach Richard Pitino said he stayed out of center Reggie Lynch's decision to drop his appeals in the University of Minnesota's decision to expel him for his role in two sexual misconduct incidents.

"We've kind of focused on what we have here," Pitino said Tuesday, Feb. 20. "(Lynch) made decisions on how he wanted to go about it, with his family, lawyer and so on, that we didn't really get involved in. We've just been focusing in on our guys."

With his mother, Marlene, and attorney Ryan Pacyga present, Lynch officially ended his appeals process last Thursday, saying he didn't commit the acts of which he was being accused. By the afternoon, he was no longer a student at the U.

The Gophers were 13-3 when Lynch was suspended on Jan. 5. Without the 2016-17 Big Ten defensive player of the year, as well as starting guard Amir Coffey, Minnesota is 1-12 heading into Wednesday night's 8 p.m. tipoff against Iowa at Williams Arena.

The pain continued

Coffey aggravated his right shoulder during a comeback attempt against Northwestern on Jan. 23 and the Gophers were unable to work him back from reoccurring pain in the non-shooting side of his body.

"We put him through some non-contact shooting drills and he looked fine, because he's a lefty and it doesn't affect his legs," Pitino said. "Then all of sudden, we did some defensive things and you see him closing out and he's lifting the left but he's not lifting the right."

The Gophers announced Saturday that Coffey won't play again this season and will undergo surgery. He averaged 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in 18 games.

"Amir is a tough kid, a competitor, and you never question those things," Pitino said. "It just wasn't getting better, so we just talked about it and we said, 'Let's just do this now and focus on your rehab.' It's going to be a long process for Amir, and the biggest thing is let's get him back and ready in the fall."

No excuses

Pitino said guard Nate Mason "clearly got fouled" on a drive to the basket late in regulation of a 73-63 overtime loss to Wisconsin in Madison on Monday.

Badgers guard Brad Davison, a Maple Grove native, stuck his leg out and appeared to impede Mason's attack. Mason didn't make the basket and injured his ankle in the play, but Pitino wasn't willing to pin the loss on the play.

"We had a lot of opportunities where we made a lot of mistakes," he said.

McBrayer questionable

After missing games because of a nagging leg injury, guard Dupree McBrayer played 38 minutes against Wisconsin. Pitino thought it would be a tough turnaround for him to play against the Hawkeyes only 48 hours later.

"I don't know if he will play. I really don't," the coach said. "We'll see. That will be a (Wednesday) decision. I would anticipate that it would be difficult."