Sid Hartman: Pitino prepares Gophers basketball team for Big Ten marathon


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Nov 11, 2008
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The Gophers men’s basketball team took its first lopsided defeat of the season Wednesday night in a 65-47 loss at Michigan State. But things will not necessarily get easier as the Gophers prepare to play Saturday at Penn State, which beat Michigan State 72-63 at the Palestra in Philadelphia last Saturday.

The Nittany Lions held the Spartans to only 41.1 percent shooting and had four players in double figures, led by freshman Lamar Stevens’ game-high 18 points. They also were able to hold Michigan State to only 11 assists while forcing 17 turnovers.

That was Penn State’s first victory over Michigan State since the 2010-11 season, and maybe the biggest win of sixth-year coach Patrick Chambers’ career.

Gophers coach Richard Pitino said after Wednesday’s game that while his young squad — which features only one senior getting regular minutes in guard Akeem Springs — played well on the road in beating Purdue, it definitely struggled playing a physical team in East Lansing, Mich.

“I’ve seen great environments [at Breslin Center],” Pitino said. “I think coach Tom Izzo was a little frustrated and is always a little bit tough. Purdue is a terrific environment. They are both really good and when this place is good, it is phenomenal. I felt young [Wednesday], I definitely felt young. I’m not sure that was the crowd as opposed to their toughness and they just beat us up — not in the fouling way, but the toughness. But I definitely thought we looked young today. I haven’t felt that way yet.”

Go Gophers!!
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