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Minnesota pins first loss on Michigan with 75-57 rout

Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune on

Published in Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — The hype surrounding this season's Michigan's basketball team was at an all-time high entering Saturday's rematch against Minnesota at Willia ms Arena.

In fact, there was buzz about the Wolverines arguably being the third-best team in college basketball behind fellow unbeatens Gonzaga and Baylor, the Nos. 1 and 2 teams, respectively.

Few gave the No. 23 Gophers a chance to pull off an upset, but they beat the No. 7 Wolverines, 75-57, handing them their first loss.

Liam Robbins had 22 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, and Marcus Carr added 17 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Gophers (11-4, 4-4 Big Ten), who stopped a two-game slide.

"Everyone was really high on them," Robbins said of the Wolverines. "But we were already motivated. We didn't need to see them beat another team for us to want to go get that one. We were embarrassed about what happened in Ann Arbor. We were going to make sure that didn't happen on our home court."

Clearly, Richard Pitino's team felt like it was being overlooked as a Big Ten contender after four road losses by an average of nearly 20 points, including by 25 at Michigan on Jan. 6.

 

The Gophers were playing their eighth straight ranked Big Ten opponent, a first in school history. They ended that tough stretch with a 4-4 record, including wins over Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State.

"We've had so many phenomenal performances," Pitino said. "Tonight was the best time coming out of that locker room. I thought our guys were really, really engaged and ready to go."

The Wolverines (11-1, 6-1) could still be the team to beat in the Big Ten, having defeated three straight ranked opponents by 19 or more points before their first loss, including No. 9 Wisconsin by 23 on Tuesday. They found out what it was like to be dominated for one game.

Two of Michigan's leading scorers, Hunter Dickinson (nine points) and Franz Wagner (eight points), were held under double figures, while as a team the Wolverines shot 39% and committed 20 turnovers.

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