Men’s Basketball: Gophers offense dried up in 67-57 loss to Virginia Tech – InForum

With Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia struggling offensively, it’s going to be a long night for the Gophers men’s basketball team this season.

That came Monday with a 67-57 loss to Virginia Tech at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Battle and Garcia have combined 30 points this season, but in Minnesota’s first road game of the season, they combined for 11 points.

Battle, still working his way back from preseason foot surgery, missed his first five shots and finished the field 2 for 10 and had six points. Garcia, who was playing with the flu on Monday, went 2-for-9 shooting and had five points.

Virginia Tech (7-1) was a 12-point favorite over Minnesota (4-3) and rolled to an easy win. The Hokies shot almost 60% from the field in the first half and ran 17-4 to take a 39-27 lead at the break.

Similar to the loss to UNLV in Wednesday’s SoCal Challenge, Minnesota was competitive in the first 10 minutes of the game. On Monday, the Gophers used six turnovers from Virginia Tech to take a 13-11 lead. But then they conceded a big run in both games and never got back into the game.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech center Lynn Kidd (15) controls a rebound in front of Minnesota’s Pharrel Payne (21) Monday, November 28, 2022 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia is on the right.

Lee Luther Jr / USA Today Sports

“We need to watch the film and see if there’s definitely a recurring theme in the last few games,” head coach Ben Johnson said on KFXN-FM after the game. “We really need to shore up these things so we don’t have this gap where teams go on a run and you just have to catch up from there.”

Minnesota was particularly hurt by Sean Pedulla’s speed at dribbling down ball screens and his shooting practice; The point guard had 13 points to lead all scorers before the break. He finished with a game high of 17.

In the first half, Battle wasn’t a factor for Minnesota, missing all three of his shots. Johnson said Battle needed to rediscover the rhythm and timing he lost by missing the first four games of the season. “They don’t take it easy against good teams like UNLV and Virginia Tech,” Johnson said on the radio. “And he’s on the front page of all scouting reports and we have to help him.”

Minnesota went about five minutes without a basket, and Pharrel Payne ended the drought. He had nine points and four rebounds in the first half. In the game, Payne and Ta’Lon Cooper each had 13 points for Minnesota, with Josh Ola-Joseph contributing 11.

The Gophers fell to 12-12 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge after beating Pittsburgh 54-53 last season.


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