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Gophers fall 95-79 at Arkansas


These home-and-homes are difficult. But they’re good for our team if ... The Razorbacks (7-2) never trailed Saturday and shot 57 percent from the field. Jaylen Barford led five Arkansas players in double figures with 22 points. Daniel Gafford had 16 ...


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By Marcus Fuller , Star Tribune December 10, 2017 - 12:39 AM See more of the story FAYETTEVILLE, ARK– With five starters returning from a 24-win NCAA tournament team, the Gophers men’s basketball team earned a preseason Top 25 ranking and was projected as a Big Ten title contender. You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t say those things. The reality is coach Richard Pitino has a much different team than the one that surprised the nation and made a 16-game turnaround last season. Pitino’s team isn’t nearly as stout defensively, lacks depth in the frontcourt and drops off significantly with experience and talent when it goes to the bench. The No14 Gophers suffered their third loss in the past four games Saturday night, falling 95-79 at Arkansas in front of 17,583 at Bud Walton Arena. BOXSCORE: Arkansas 95, Gophers 79 Gophers-Arkansas game recap Minnesota proved it has a long way to go to live up to the high expectations this season. “Certainly, we have our deficiencies we need to fix,” Pitino said“But the sky’s not fallingWe’re sitting here at 8-3We’re back home, which is greatThis was a tough game for us, but it was a beneficial win for us last yearThese home-and-homes are difficultBut they’re good for our team if we learn from it — if we stay connected and stay confidentAnd I think we will.” Jordan Murphy finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for his 11th straight double-doubleAmir Coffey had 18 points and Nate Mason 17. The Razorbacks (7-2) never trailed Saturday and shot 57 percent from the fieldJaylen Barford led five Arkansas players in double figures with 22 pointsDaniel Gafford had 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting and six blocks in his first career start. The Gophers are still an NCAA tournament-worthy team with quality wins against Providence and Alabama, but losses to Miami (Fla.), Nebraska and now Arkansas likely will drop them out of the Top 25 on Monday. Pitino said he’s never focused on rankings, but his players started to look at them. “Coach did a good job telling us not to look at it,” junior Dupree McBrayer said“But once we got higher and higher people started looking at it and it got in our heads.” Minnesota was a three-point underdog at Arkansas, always surprising for a top-15 team against an unranked opponent. But the Gophers definitely looked unequipped to handle the Razorbacks’ trademark “40 Minutes of Hell” up-tempo style, allowing them to shoot 67 percent in the first half. Reggie Lynch’s foul trouble forced Minnesota to rely on a depleted bench already missing Eric Curry from a season-ending knee injuryLynch was limited to just five points and four fouls in 14 minutes. Backup center Bakary Konate didn’t make the trip after suffering a concussion earlier in the weekRarely used reserve Gaston Diedhiou was forced to play 18 minutes after seeing the floor in only two games previously. After leading 50-42 at halftime, Arkansas saw its lead cut to six points twice early in the second halfThe latter was on a baseline dunk from Coffey to make it 54-48. The Razorbacks sealed the game with a 9-0 run after Lynch picked up his fourth foul around the 13-minute markBarford’s three-pointer extended it to a 77-58 lead with eight minutes remaining. Arkansas 95, No14 GOPHERS 797 p.mMonday vsDrake (BTN) Comments Next in Sports Wolves squander late lead, lose to 76ers in OT Twins' closer might already be on their roster Famed Vikings trash-talker Randle tells players to ignore boorish fans Vikings' successful season complicates Super Bowl prep Minnesota curlers keep Olympic dreams alive Most Read Souhan: Gophers' Pitino is right ..and wrong 'Like going to the dentist'; Gophers escape by one point over Drake Pitino on fans booing Gophers at halftime Postgame: Pitino tells Gophers they have to earn NCAA tourney berth Gophers address offensive line needs during big recruiting weekend Sections Home Local Sports Business Opinion Variety Weather Politics Nation World Obituaries Sports Scores Health HighlightsSponsored content from Mayo Clinic Marketplace Classifieds Jobs Homes Rentals Weekly Ads Autos Popular Celebs Eat & Drink Home & Garden Movies Music Comics Games Horoscopes Podcasts Gophers High Schools Lynx MN United Super Bowl LII Twins Wild Wolves Vikings More sections Fewer sections function showFooterNav(){ $(".showFooterMenu").hide(); $(".tier-more, .hideFooterMenu").show(); } function hideFooterNav(){ $(".showFooterMenu").show(); $(".tier-more, .hideFooterMenu").hide(); } Sections Home Local Sports Business Opinion Variety Weather Politics Nation World Obituaries Sports Scores Health HighlightsSponsored content from Mayo Clinic Marketplace Classifieds Jobs Homes Rentals Weekly Ads Autos Popular Celebs Eat & Drink Home & Garden Movies Music Comics Games Horoscopes Podcasts Gophers High Schools Lynx MN United Super Bowl LII Twins Wild Wolves Vikings Follow us Log In Log Out Help Manage Subscription Archives: 150+ years Apps eEdition About Star Tribune Subscribe • 99¢ for unlimited access --> Sign In Subscribe Manage Subscription Welcome, Sign Out Manage Subscription Share on Facebook Post to Twitter Email this story Share via text message Share on Linkedin Pin to Pinterest Share on Google+ $( document ).ready( function( $ ){ var shareURI; var osData = window.getMobileOSAndVersion(); var shareBody = 'Gophers%20fall%2095-79%20at%20Arkansas: http%3A%2F%2Fstrib.mn%2F2A6hX74'; if ( osData.os == 'iOS' ) { if ( osData.version >= 8 ) { shareURI = 'sms:&body=' + shareBody; } else { shareURI = 'sms:;body=' + shareBody; } } else { shareURI = 'sms:?body=' + shareBody; } $( '#share-sms-link-menu' ).attr( 'href', shareURI ); });

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