Gophers drop home finale to Indiana 70-58 after ice cold shooting night

Parker Fox had 14 points and five rebounds in the Gophers' 70-58 loss to Indiana on Wednesday at Williams Arena. (University of Minnesota Athletics)

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team picked a bad night to have one of its worst offensive performances of the season.

In their final game this year at Williams Arena, the Gophers shot 39 percent from the field and just 5-of-26 from the perimeter in a 70-53 loss to Indiana in their final home game. Minnesota drops to 18-12 on the season, 9-10 in Big Ten play and needs a win at Northwestern on Saturday to finish .500 in league play. Minnesota trailed just 30-25 at the half despite making only one field goal over the final 7:25.

A week ago, Minnesota put up 97 points in a loss at Illinois. Wednesday night against the Hoosiers, nearly every offensive possession was a struggle. Ben Johnson didn't see it coming after two solid days of practice.

"Sometimes you have a little bit of an inkling or feel if you’re going to be flat or just not have it. I definitely did not have that coming into today. We’ve got to figure that out, that’s a mentality thing. It’s are you ready to compete from the jump?" Johnson said. "For whatever reason I just felt like they brought the fight to us."

Indiana led by as many as 19 points in the second half. The Gophers had no answer for Kel’el Ware. He finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 12-of-16 from the field. Mackenzie Mgbako added 15 points, including a trio of second half 3-pointers that helped the Hoosiers pull away.

Parker Fox led Minnesota with 14 points and was 4-of-4 from the field, and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line. Freshman Cam Christie, one of the team’s top scorers, finished with eight points on an abysmal 2-of-13 from the field and just 2-of-9 from the perimeter. The Gophers also committed 18 turnovers, and had only 12 assists on 22 made field goals.

"We just didn’t have the right mentality today. Credit to them and taking advantage of it, we just didn’t play the way we want to play basketball," Fox said. "Shots maybe didn’t fall and we go 5-of-26 from three, but we’ve got to play with edge. If we play with edge and compete, we give ourselves a chance."

Minnesota was 16-3 at Williams Arena entering the night, one of the best home records in the Big Ten. The Gophers now need a win at Northwestern on Saturday, and a run in the Big Ten Tournament, to keep slim hopes of the NCAA Tournament alive. They could end the regular season 10-10 in the league, it would be their first season since 2019 being at least .500 in the Big Ten.

"We’ve got to have more urgency for sure on Saturday if we want to give ourselves a chance. It’s an opportunity to right a wrong. If you win that game, it makes up for this one," Johnson said.