Minnesotas Coach Smith Powerless to Crush Uw

By: Ally White

Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith got his first challenge of the first year at the Badgers this past Sunday, however Wisconsin's defense showed to be stronger as Minnesota lost 63-47.

"We knew it was going to be a tough battle for us playing against a team that is ranked second in the nation defensively," Smith said. "They showed it today because we had our lowest (point) production I think all season."

It surely did not make it any easy that Wisconsin shot at 58 percent in the first 20 minutes taken the lead of 39-23 at the halftime, although Minnesota by no means got its offense against UW's aggressive defensive attack, shooting only 36 percent during the game.

Minnesotas's defense slowed Wisconsin down in the second half, but the 16-point lead was better against a team that forced 18 turnovers to Minnesota. "The defense is where we get it started because if our shots are not falling down you can always go back and play good defense," UW's Trevon Hughes said.

Minnesota by no means didn't find a method to stop the sophomore guard, who scored 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field and 6 free throws. "He's just a physical guy. He can get to the line and control the tempo," Smith said of Hughes, who packs 193 pounds on his 6-foot frame. "You aren't going to take the ball off him much, but we did force a few turnovers on him today. Again, he made shots."

Smith alleged "Wisconsin is a very athletic team, which makes its defense hard to score against. UW held Minnesota's top three scorers -- Dan Coleman, Lawrence McKenzie and Spencer Tollackson -- to just 20 points."

"It was either guys not moving to get open or they are just that talented where they can get up and block shots," Smith said. "They blocked five shots and most of those were going to the basket."

Minnesota adds up eight to 10 really horrible shots in the paint, where the Minnesota Gophers were defeated 30-24. The talented sophomore Damian Johnson ended with 10 points; he was given plenty of
recognition for their defensive potential.

"They stayed down on our jump shots," he said. "They stayed down on our layups and they made us go over them, so it was very difficult when 6-11 guys, 6-9 guys try to challenge shots and stand there with their hands up. It's just difficult to go over them". This is Wisconsin's 12 time win in their previous 13 games against Minnesota that was trying to do a statement against one big rival.

"We let them get to us," Johnson said. "That's just too hard to come back from a 16-point deficit to win the game."

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