The University of Minnesota men's basketball team lost to the Oregon Ducks today 90-81 in Eugene, Ore. The No. 25 Gophers (6-2) brought No. 5 Oregon (8-1) lead within four in the final seconds of play. But, the Ducks scored five points off free throws in the final 20 seconds to earn the victory.
The Maroon and Gold was led by Steve Esselink who set four new career highs with 18 points, six field goals made, eight three-point field goal attempts and six three-point field goals made. Esselink had nine points off three's in the first half and continued the streak in the second half to finish 6-of-8 on three-pointers. Jerry Holman added 17 points and five rebounds.
The Gophers started the game with an 11-6 run and held the lead until Oregon's Luke Ridnour made a jumper at the 8:20 mark in the first half to tie the game at 19. Oregon took the lead with a jumper from Ian Crosswhite at 7:33 and held onto it the entire game. Minnesota was turnover prone with 17 in the first half to Oregon's 7.
In the second half, the two teams combined to make 16 three pointers. In a three minute span, Esselink hit four tres while Burleson had one and three Oregon players each had one. Late in the half, another three from Burleson and Holman jumper brought the Gophers within three with just over three minutes remaining. Yet, Oregon held strong with a 15-9 run in those final minutes to earn the win.
Oregon was led by Crosswhite with 18 points. Luke Jackson added 10 points, seven rebounds and 5 assists for the Ducks.
Next up for Minnesota is Texas Tech on Saturday, Dec. 28, at 1:00 p.m. at Williams Arena.