A date with the slumping Indiana Hoosiers was just what the Gophers needed to snap a four-game losing streak and get back on the right track late in the Big Ten season.
Minnesota rolled from start to finish on Saturday at Williams Arena and left with an 84-63 win over the Hoosiers, who are now 4-10 in the conference and near the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
The Gophers improve to 17-9 overall and 7-8 in the Big Ten, good for seventh place but still 2 1/2 games behind sixth-place Wisconsin (17-8 overall, 9-5 Big Ten).
Jordan Murphy led Minnesota's offensive attack with 23 points and 11 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season, and Gabe Kalscheur hit 6-of-8 from 3-point land en route to a 20-point game.
Amir Coffey added 18 points and seven assists for the Gophers, who led by as many as 30 points in the second half.
Head coach Richard Pitino said his team played angry after a tough loss at Nebraska earlier in the week.
“I talked to them about that. I was really upset after that game and I don’t get upset a lot. It happens. You move on. There’s nothing that anyone can to say to me to change that game. We lost. We’re not going to change the record. We’re not going to appeal anything. It doesn’t matter," said Pitino.
"There’s only one thing you can do. It’s play angry. Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. We’ve got to create our own luck. I thought tonight we did that.”
If Selection Sunday were today the Gophers would likely be on the bubble, but they can solidify their tournament chances against with three of their final five regular season games against ranked opponents.
- Feb. 21 at #6 Michigan
- Feb. 24 at Rutgers
- Feb. 28 at Northwestern
- Mar. 5 vs. #12 Purdue
- Mar. 8 at #24 Maryland
Joe Lundardi's latest bracketology for ESPN (updated Feb. 14) lists the Gophers as a No. 12 seed in the tournament.