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Gophers give No. 1 Michigan State all it can handle in close loss

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Entering the game as an 11-point home underdog to No. 1 ranked Michigan State (14-1) was no surprise, but the fact that Richard Pitino's Golden Gophers (6-8) hung with the top-ranked Spartans on Saturday afternoon was a big surprise.

Minnesota lost 69-61 as the Spartans closed the game on a 6-0 run over the final 2:14. The Gophers led twice in the first half but after falling behind by as many as 10 points in the second half, they couldn't claw their way any closer than two points.

Nate Mason led the Gophers with 16 points, but the Minnesota struggled shooting the ball all game – finishing 22-of-65 from the field (33.8 percent) and 5-of-20 on 3-point attempts (25 percent).

Freshman forward Jordan Murphy added 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Next up: Gophers at Penn State, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

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