Despite fighting a strong fight, the University of Minnesota men's basketball team (16-8, 8-5) lost 71-61 to Michigan State (15-11, 7-6) today in East Lansing, Mich. The Golden Gophers went on a 15-5 run in the final 6:28 to cut the Spartans' lead to just four with under a minute to play. But, Michigan State closed the game making six straight free throws and claiming the 71-61 win.
Midway through the second half Minnesota was in foul trouble with Rick Rickert, Michael Bauer and Jeff Hagen each having four and Jerry Holman with three. Regardless of the foul trouble, Minnesota kept battling and a Bauer three-pointer at 5:52 started a 15-4 MInnesota run. With just under a minute to play, Maurice Hargrow swished a three of his own to bring the Gophers within four. Three Minnesota fouls sent the Spartans to the line with them making six of six to bring the final score to 71-61.
The first half was much of the same story with Minnesota falling behind by as many as 15. Michigan State had the lead from the beginning with a 10-4 start until a Steve Esselink three brought the Gophers within one at the 13:50 mark. They finished the half with a 9-0 run to bring the score to 33-25, in Michigan State's favor, as the buzzer sounded.
In the first half, the Maroon and Gold shot just 29.6 percent on 8-of-27 from the field while Michigan State shot 41.7 percent on 10-of-24. Shooting improved in the second half with Minnesota going 11-of-29 for an overall 34 percent.
There was a total of 55 fouls committed in the game as Rickert fouled out for Minnesota and five other Gophers and six Spartans posted at least three fouls. The foul prone game led to a combined 69 free throws with Minnesota going just 19-of-29, 65 percent, from the line. Defensively, the Gophers outrebounded the Spartans 44 to 40 and added six blocks.
Hargrow led the Maroon and Gold with 17 points and five rebounds. Rickert added 13 points and seven rebounds while Esselink had 11 points and six rebounds.
Alan Anderson led the way for Michigan State with 18 points and six rebounds with Kelvin Torbert adding 17 points and four steals.
The Golden Gophers return home to face the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday, March 2. Tipoff is set for 1:00 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.