Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Texas Southern Leaves Gophers with Red Faces

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Texas Southern Leaves Gophers with Red Faces

Article excerpt

University of Minnesota basketball coach Clem Haskins has this line he often recites: His players win games, he loses them. It's nonsense, but he likes it.

The Golden Gophers won their first six games because their senior-dominated starting lineup played as if it had been together forever. They have lost their last three - including Wednesday night's embarrassing 71-50 trouncing by Texas Southern at Williams Arena - for precisely the opposite reason.

In Anchorage, where the Gophers won the Great Alaska Shootout last month, Minnesota impressed national-television audiences for three consecutive nights. With senior point guard Townsend Orr supplying energetic leadership, senior shooting guard Voshon Lenard providing efficient scoring, senior forward Jayson Walton compiling double-digit points and rebounds, and senior forward Chad Kolander slashing to the basket for layups, the Gophers beat Arizona, Villanova and Brigham Young.

But starting with losses last week to Cincinnati and California, and continuing in Wednesday's stunning blowout, the shooting from the backcourt has grown progressively worse. So have the results.

Consider this:

By halftime Wednesday night, Texas Southern junior guard Kevin Granger had outscored the Gophers' starting five 13-8. The Gophers' game plan was to pound the ball inside against the smaller Tigers; Orr and Lenard were scoreless at halftime. So was sophomore center John Thomas. Kolander had two points and Walton six. And Minnesota trailed 29-14.

After shooting a season-low 36 percent against California on Saturday, the Gophers established a new season-low by shooting just 28 percent on Wednesday, including a horrific first half in which they made just seven of 37 shots. They missed their last 13 shots of the half and their first shot of the second half. Lenard made one of eight shots and had but three points. Orr, the team's leading scorer with 11 points, was four for 13.

The Gophers never got closer than 13 points in the second half, and trailed by as many as 25. Granted, Texas Southern isn't Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Tigers are 7-2 this year and won their final 13 regular-season games last season, reaching the NCAA Tournament before losing to mighty Duke 82-70 in the first round. …

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