Monday, January 17, 2022

Gophers Hope Lessons Learned From First Game Against Michigan Pay Off Now

The men’s basketball team, the Gophers, have been looking for ways to bond as they stayed on the road between Sunday’s 73-60 loss in Indiana and Wednesday’s game in Michigan.

Choices were limited due to the pandemic, so on Monday night they had a snack and watched the National College Football Championship game in which Georgia beat Alabama 33-18.

Minnesota head coach Ben Johnson, a retired DeLaSalle High School footballer, shared how Georgia survived a defeat to Alabama in an SEC title match in early December and how Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart continued to come to Nick Saban’s aid after he was 0. – 4 against his mentor.

“They blocked it all,” Johnson said Tuesday. “They knew that in the fourth quarter they would turn it over and that would be a change. Some of the thinking to this is powerful. If you don’t believe as a whole, then there aren’t many noughts and crosses that matter. If there is a group of guys in the locker room who believe until the very end, (then) a lot of good things can happen. ”

The Gophers (10-3, 1-3 Big Ten) are working to keep the faith after losing two games in a row at conferences, including Illinois on January 4th. Ten positions at 4-0 and 13-2 overall. Tipoff at 6pm Wednesday from Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan.

“I think (the players) understand that we lost to two really good teams, and obviously you don’t want to lull or get used to (losing), and I don’t feel that at all.” Johnson said. “They know it’s too early and we have a lot of games ahead of us and they know it’s a process. We keep building with every game. ”

At the opening of the conference on December 8, Michigan came out fast and survived the Minnesota rally, winning 75-67 at the Williams Arena. Johnson felt that the Gophers’ defense had not been shown at the start of the first match against the Spartans, but said he saw the necessary spirit on the road against the Hoosiers last weekend.

“We will learn a lesson from this; we showed them it on tape, ”Johnson said. “We need to be more assertive on both sides, especially in the beginning. … The guys understand what it’s like to play against them. This is a positive thing in a quick recovery. They remember that game very well. ”

Michigan is known for its pace of play, especially in transition, and physical style. “None of this will come as a surprise,” Johnson said. – I think our guys will be ready.

During their extended journey, the Gophers did more movie screenings and additional filming. As with most programs, poor shooting often results in defeat; it was history for Minnesota, mostly with a 3-point range.

Minnesota is throwing 37.7% from deep in its 10 wins, but only 22.2% in its three losses. As a team, the Gophers are shooting 34.1 percent of 3 this season, and every shooter has been below that mark on a losing streak to the Hoosiers.

Jamison Buttle was the best (3 out of 10), followed by Payton Willis (2-8), Luke Lowe (0-4) and E.J. Stevens (0-3). Johnson said that, like the first three quarters of the college football championship, it might not be pretty, but how you end up matters is what matters.

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