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Golden Gophers Comeback Falls Short In 60-57 Loss To Hoosiers

(Sports Network) - Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones III both finished with 12 points, and the Indiana Hoosiers topped the 18th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers, 60-57, at Assembly Hall.

The win gave the Hoosiers (12-11, 3-7 Big Ten) their second victory against a ranked opponent in a week. Indiana topped then-No. 20 Illinois last Thursday before losing in overtime to then 25th-ranked Michigan State on Sunday.

Matt Roth added nine points while both Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston scored eight for Indiana, which has won three straight at home.

"As I said to them, when you can develop real belief, you have a chance to go on and do really big things," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of his team. "When the team plays on edge and continues to develop belief, they are going to keep getting better."

Blake Hoffarber paced Minnesota (16-6, 5-5) with 15 points. Austin Hollins added 13 points and Ralph Sampson III scored 10 to go along with nine rebounds for the Golden Gophers, who have dropped back-to-back games for the second time this season.

The Hoosiers held an 11-point lead at 55-44 after a pair of Hulls free throws with 5:29 remaining. However, a Sampson layup on the next possession began a 10-0 Minnesota run, capped by a Hollins free throw with 3:05 remaining.

Trevor Mbakwe missed two layups with a chance to give the Golden Gophers the lead, and after Jones grabbed the rebound on the second shot, he was sent to the line at the 3:01 mark, making both to put Indiana up 57-54.

Jones then connected on a long three-pointer to widen the Hoosiers lead back to six. Hoffarber was off-target on a three attempt, and Colton Iverson made 1-of-2 from the line following the rebound to cut the Minnesota deficit to 60-55.

After Jones committed a costly turnover just inside the final minute, Chip Armelin's jumper with 43 seconds remaining made it a one-possession game.

Hulls attempted to put the game away with a jumper, but after the shot went wide left the Gophers were given one last chance down the court in the final 10 seconds. However, Hoffarber's three-point attempt from the corner just before the buzzer was off target.

"Well we sure have to compliment and commend Indiana. They came out ready to play," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "They were aggressive and took a fight to us early in the game and really out worked us in the first half."

Pritchard led Indiana with eight points and six rebounds in the first half as the Hoosiers shot 43.8 percent from the field for a 33-21 lead at the break. The Golden Gophers shot unusually poor in the first half, only connecting on 7-of-26 attempts and a paltry 2-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Game Notes

Indiana leads the all-time series 93-65...Mbakwe added seven points and nine rebounds for Minnesota...The Golden Gophers held a 36-35 rebounding advantage but allowed Indiana to convert 10 turnovers into 18 points...Indiana never trailed in the game.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.