No. 8 Minnesota’s second-half surge against No. 5 Indiana wasn’t enough to overcome the 23-point hole the Gophers dug by halftime.
The Gophers (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) dropped their first conference game of the season 88-81 to the Hoosiers (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) in Bloomington, Ind.
Another slow start plagued the Gophers, as they compiled 12 first-half turnovers and failed to stifle Indiana’s offensive attack.
Minnesota’s otherwise stingy defense failed to contest shots and guard the paint, allowing the Hoosiers to shoot 21-for-32 in the first period.
The Gophers outscored Indiana 52-36 in the second half, allowing only six Hoosiers field goals, but Tubby Smith’s squad ran out of time.
Minnesota never led, but it pulled within three points with 18 seconds left in the game.
Indiana’s 40 free-throw attempts -- 36 in the second half -- helped put away the Gophers in the closing minutes.
The highly anticipated matchup between elite big men -- Indiana's Cody Zeller and Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe -- didn't live up to the hype.
The Gophers struggled to feed the ball inside, especially against the seven-foot Zeller, as the Hoosiers mixed up their defensive schemes.
Mbakwe finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Zeller notched 18 points and six rebounds.
But it was Indiana’s superior guard play that made the difference.
Indiana point guard Victor Oladipo shot 8-for-10 from the field for 20 points, and guard Jordan Hulls made four three-pointers in seven attempts.
Minnesota jacked up a conference season-high 27 three-point attempts against the Hoosiers. Although the Gophers put away 41 percent of those shots, the Hoosiers’ 51 percent shooting from the field was too much to overcome.
Andre Hollins had career-highs in shot attempts (20) and three-point attempts (12). He finished with a game-high 25 points but tied a season-high with five turnovers.
- The Gophers’ 17 turnovers are a conference season high through four games.
- Minnesota’s bench has scored eight points and committed 10 turnovers across the past two games.
- The Gophers' 15 free throw attempts are a season low.