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Gophers men lose by 35 points at Rutgers, losing streak hits six

The state of Gopher’s men’s basketball was vastly different in 2017, when the program last won the Rutgers.

Richard Pitino had his best season during his eight-year tenure. His eight straight wins in the Big Ten cemented his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Six years later, former Pitino assistant Ben Johnson has the Gophers program in extreme rebuilding mode for its second season.Scarlett lost 90-55 against the Knights Wednesday night in Piscataway, New Jersey, his sixth straight loss.

It was the biggest gap in Big Ten play since the Scarlet Knights arrived in 2014. The last time the Gophers extended the losing margin was in his 36-point loss in 2001 at Indiana.

“We’re definitely going to do some introspection,” Johnson said on the radio show after the game. We all have to hold each other to a higher standard.”

The Gophers (7-14, 1-10) are on the longest losing streak since Pitino lost seven in the Big Ten before being fired after the 2020-21 season. Coincidentally, Pitino’s last home game in Minnesota’s program was an overtime loss against Rutgers.

United’s leading scorer and rebounder Dawson Garcia missed his third consecutive game on Wednesday with a bone bruise. In Garcia’s absence, Joshua his Ora his Joseph tallied his career-high 17 points and his eight rebounds, but the Gophers gave the Rutgers a 60% shooting percentage from the field and paint him on goal. set school records with 46 points and 30 assists.

Going into Wednesday, Johnson spoke of his admiration for how Rutgers coach Steve Piquel has built his program from the bottom up. , picked up the pace from consecutive bottom in the Big Ten to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in Piquille’s seventh season.

“I’m not a man with high ceilings,” Piquille told local reporters after the game. “They’ve been great. They’re fun to coach and they’re talented. Let’s see where that takes us this year.”

Unable to recruit like the Big Ten’s upper tier programs, Pikiel said he looked for players who fit Rutgers’ tough, headstrong defensive identity. His success has made Scarlett his Knights the number one defensive team in the conference this season.

Johnson’s gopher is on the other side of the defensive range. In the last two games, Northwestern and Rutgers combined to shoot 56% (122-68) and score 171 points, 48% of which came from his 3-point range (19-40).

Rutgers led 18-7 and the Gophers started the game on Wednesday after taking too many shots from the outside.

Jamison Buttle, who finished with 13 points, scored the first basket to spark a 13-4 first-half conceded. His baseline jumper cut it to 22-20, but Rutgers eventually saw that confidence explode offensively with little resistance.

In the second half, the Scarlet Knights outscored the Gophers 56-31 with a 66% shooting percentage. Six players finished in his double figures, led by Cam Spencer’s 17 points.

Without Garcia in the rotation, the Gophers played only eight scholarship players, including three freshmen, sophomores and former walk-ons. No one who had played for Rutgers before Wednesday night had kept the minutes. Last week, he competed against just seven scholarship players until he lost 61-57 at home to Indiana.

But in Saturday’s 81-61 loss at Northwestern University, the Gophers were only slightly competitive in the first half before falling apart. Johnson has tried to cover up weaknesses defensively using his 2-3 zone, but his team is still exploited, especially in midfield.

The Gophers, who host Maryland on Saturday, had another terrible night of shooting, 36% from the field, including a 25-for-5 from long range. They also committed 15 turnovers.

Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. It is written using broadcasts, interviews and other materials.

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