Men's basketball: Gophers win in OT at Michigan State
By Marcus R. FullerSt. Paul Pioneer Press EAST LANSING, Mich. -- For an hour the night before playing at Michigan State, Gophers coach Richard Pitino talked with his mentor, Billy Donovan, about how rough both of their seasons had been. Donovan h...
By Marcus R. Fuller
St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAST LANSING, Mich. - For an hour the night before playing at Michigan State, Gophers coach Richard Pitino talked with his mentor, Billy Donovan, about how rough both of their seasons had been.
Donovan had it a lot worse as Florida’s coach with a 13-15 record.
That helped put things into perspective.
And the Gophers showed Thursday night how they could have accomplished a lot more this season with a 96-90 overtime win over the Spartans.
It was their first win in East Lansing since the vacated Final Four season in 1996-97.
Carlos Morris, who scored a game-high 20 points, nailed a three-pointer after being fouled by Gavin Schilling with 2.2 seconds left in regulation.
Morris missed the potential game-winning free throw to send the game into overtime for the second straight season at the Breslin Center.
The Gophers (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten) lost 87-75 last year after getting outscored 16-4 in overtime. But they went on a 9-2 run in the extra period Thursday to seal their first win this season over a ranked opponent.
Michigan State’s Travis Trice, who had 21 points, answered with a basket from Joey King by sinking a three-pointer with 1:44 left in regulation for a one-point lead.
Minnesota would trail until Morris’ off-balance shot from beyond the arc.
In overtime, Walker, Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu hit six straight free throws to give Minnesota a 87-80 advantage.
Walker finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Hollins and Mathieu added 17 and 12 points, respectively.
The Spartans (19-9, 10-5), who entered the game as the worst free-throw shooting team in the Big Ten at 63.4 percent, went 2 for 6 from the foul line to start overtime.
King scored 17 points for the Gophers, who end the regular season next week with home games against Wisconsin and Penn State.
Throughout Thursday’s game, Pitino showed his frustration over missed defensive assignments, but he didn’t seem as disgusted as usual with his players.
With Minnesota having been realistically out of NCAA tournament contention for awhile, the second-year coach has faced the challenge of preparing his younger players for next season while trying to be competitive and still win.
Facing a seven-point deficit early in the second half, the Gophers’ lineup consisted of three freshmen, a sophomore and senior.
It seemed like Pitino was forcing his younger players to gain experience in a baptism-by-fire approach, which backfired in Saturday’s loss at Wisconsin.
But Nate Mason, who started his second straight game at point guard, nailed a three-pointer to spark an 11-4 run to tie the score 59-59 midway through the second half.
Eventually the Gophers subbed starters back into the game to gain the momentum.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service
Michigan St 90
MINNESOTA (96): Jy.King 4-6 8-8 17, N.Mason 3-10 2-4 9, Mu.Walker 5-7 5-6 15, A.Hollins 5-9 5-6 17, C.Morris 7-10 2-5 20, D.Mathieu 2-5 7-10 12, Buggs 1-5 0-0 2, Konate 1-2 0-0 2, Diedhiou 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 29-56 29-40 96.
MICHIGAN ST (90): D.Valentine 8-14 4-5 27, Trice 6-18 6-13 21, Nairn Jr 1-4 3-4 5, B.Dawson 4-8 2-2 10, Costello 3-5 1-1 7, Schilling 2-3 0-0 4, B.Forbes 1-5 1-2 4, Clark Jr 1-3 2-2 5, Ellis III 3-3 0-0 7, J.Bess 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-63 19-29 90.
Minnesota 36 42 18 - 96
Michigan St 41 37 12 - 90
3-Point Goals: Minnesota 9-21 (C.Morris 4-5, A.Hollins 2-4, D.Mathieu 1-1, Jy.King 1-2, N.Mason 1-5, Diedhiou 0-1, Buggs 0-3), Michigan St 13-32 (D.Valentine 7-12, Trice 3-12, Ellis III 1-1, Clark Jr 1-2, B.Forbes 1-3, Nairn Jr 0-2). Fouled out: Mu.Walker, Nairn Jr, Costello, C.Morris. Rebounds: Minnesota 33 (Mu.Walker 8), Michigan St 37 (B.Dawson 8). Assists: Minnesota 16 (N.Mason 5), Michigan St 24 (Trice 10). Total Fouls: Minnesota 23 (Mu.Walker, C.Morris 5), Michigan St 29 (Nairn Jr, Costello 5). A-14,797.