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Gophers cannot overcome Murphy's absence in NCAA loss to Michigan State



– Jordan Murphy stood with helpless clubbing behind the Gophers bench in a warmup jersey with his team-tracked Michigan State with 17 points in the second half. It was damaged in Murphy. Thursday's victory over Louisville, was to ensure that the back was not reinforced more than it already had after playing only four minutes in the first half.

Minus their All-Big Ten senior forward, the 10-seeded Gophers cut a 20-point deficit to single digits in the second half, but they couldn't keep the other seeded spartans from floating into Sweet 1

6 in a 70-50 -Loss in front of a announced 16,770 at Wells Fargo Arena.

"My guys fought hard – and it was good to see them go out as they did," said Murphy, who checked in shortly late and left with 1:27 left for a standing ovation. "I tried to play through it, but I couldn't move and I really struggled out there, so I just told Coach. I would rather not be an obstacle to the team. "

The Gophers (22-14), who reached the second round for the first time since 2013, shot 30 percent off the field and saw their hopes of an NCAA tournament ending without their

Junior Amir Coffey scored 27 points and led Gophers on an 8-0 run that gave thousands of Minnesota fans in attendance and Murphy a reason to cheer

Big Ten Champions Michigan State (30-6) took one 40-23 lead after two free throws from Cassius Winston less than four minutes into the other half, but Coffey did on back-to-back baskets, including a swinging canister down on the track at Aaron Henry who ignited Gophers teammates. 19659002] Gophers coach Richard Pitino was frustrated with his team's lack of transition defense, so he tried to cause some devastation to himself with a full-court press to create easily offensive opportunities.

Hard Drives from Gabe Kalscheur and Coffey was rewarded with trips to the foul line. Suddenly, Gopher's crawling was close after Coffey's two free throws cut it to 40-31 with 14:42 to play.

The atmosphere was similar to the Williams Arena after the Spartans were required for a warfare crime. Thousands of fans were up in the foot with Gophers players feeding their energy.

But the shorthanded roster could keep that effort for so long.

Winston, this year's great ten players, took over seven consecutive points. Xavier Tillman's arrangement made it a 9-0 running for a 49-31 lead, and the Spartans held Gophers from there.

Winston and Tillman combined for 27 points for the Spartans, who shot 57 percent off the field and won the rebounding battle 45-19.

The Spartans, who advance to play Louisiana State in their first Sweet 16 since 2015, also defeated Gophers 79-55 on February 9 in East Lansing, but they again played Saturday for the earliest NCAA tournament game ever pitting Big Ten teams.

Gophers could not show the Spartans how much they had improved since the first meeting.

"I think we did a lot of things people didn't do" we don't think we can do, "Coffey said." We were resilient and played our game. "In Thursday's 86-76 victory over seventh seeded Louisville hit Gophers 11 trekkers, including five three and 24 points from Kalscheur.

But they just shot 2-for-22 from three-point range Saturday, Michigan State-limited Kalscheur to two points on 0-for-5 shots from the field, including 0 -for-4 from beyond the arc.

The absence of Murphy, senior Matz Stockman (concussion) and later Eric Curry (foot) meant that it was not much Gophers could do to compete in the color.

That was the last The college game for Gophers seniors Murphy, Stockman, Dupree McBrayer and Brock Stull, McBrayer, who also had a hard finish to his zero point 0-for-7 shot career, still left the game for close to the end of the hearing aid from the fans.

"I'm very up appreciated by the love they showed the guys, Pitino said about four-year-old seniors and captains Murphy and McBrayer.

This was not the end of Gophers, but they could still appreciate the trip that got them here.

"They just need to learn that this hurts," McBrayer says of the program's recurring players. "You want to come back to the second round and be able to beat a good team. They just need to remember this on the back of their heads for coming here next year. "

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