Blake Hoffarber did what he could in his last regular season day as a member of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but it wasn't enough to even slow the collapse that the Gopher basketball team has gone through over the past two months.
The Gophers again had a lead with less than three minutes to go, but. . .well, I'll let the folks from The Daily Gopher explain it.
Minnesota battled back to tie it and even take the lead on a Blake Hoffarber three-point play (the old fashioned kind) 56-57 with under three minutes to go. But we all know how late leads work out for us. Here was the sequence of events over the final 2:40.
- Blake Hoffarber put the Gophers ahead with a three-point play 56-57
- Talor Battle hits a HUGE fade-away three over the top of a jumping Ralph Sampson 59-57
- Hoffarber hits a two to tie 59-59
- Jeff Brooks hits a three 62-59
- Rodney makes 1 FT, Minnesota gets the ball on a tip out of bounds 62-60
- Ralph Sampson airballs a three.
- Tim Frazier makes two free throws 64-60
- Hoffarber three 64-63 13.8 remaining
- Battle makes two free throws 66-63 10.5
- Hoffarber misses a deep three.
- GAME OVER
There is a lot to pick apart in there but it comes down to having a great shooter, no reliable playmakers and a power forward who disappeared in the final minutes. It is hard to fault Mbakwe as late game situations are tough on post players and it isn't really his strength. Hoffarber is a very clutch shooter but he can only do so much when everyone watching the game knows he's going to be the one shooting it.
This team limps into the Big Ten Tournament with a third game against Northwestern looming. Maybe Al Nolen returns to give this team some life and some much needed playmaking ability. But I think that even if he returns it will be too little and too late. When asked if he thinks this team is capable of making another run in the Big Ten Tournament like they did a year ago Tubby shook his head and said..."We've got a long way to go."
And he's right. . .they do.
Minnesota will face Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament next week. We'll have the brackets for the tournament here at SB Nation Minnesota in the next day or so.