Michigan's reign as the Big Ten's last undefeated team came crashing to an end Saturday at Minnesota, as the No. 23 Golden Gophers pounded the visiting No. 7 Wolverines 75-57. Minnesota's victory sent Michigan (11-1, 6-1 Big Ten) to its first defeat of the season at the hands of a team it had beaten by 25 just 10 days earlier.
The contrast in outcomes in games played less than two weeks apart highlights just how brutal and unpredictable the Big Ten is this season. When the teams met for the first time, Michigan freshman center Hunter Dickinson dominated the action with 28 points and eight rebounds on 12-of-15 shooting while Minnesota's star center Liam Robbins struggled. This time around, Robbins led all scorers with 22 points, including 16 in the second half, and pulled down eight rebounds. Minnesota regularly threw double teams at Dickinson, who finished with just nine points and five rebounds.
Aside from Robbins' big outing, Minnesota (11-4, 4-4 Big Ten) benefitted from a 20-9 turnover margin as the Wolverines struggled to take care of the basketball and generated just four fast-break points. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Golden Gophers and likely saved their place in the new set of rankings that will be released Monday. All four of their losses this season have come on the road against top-15 opponents and this was Minnesota's seventh consecutive game against a ranked opponent.
Minnesota led just 30-23 at halftime but pulled away with a 10-0 run between the 7:25 and 5:16 marks of the second half that extended its lead to 66-44. Robbins highlighted the run with his third made 3-pointer of the second half. The junior transfer from Drake is playing a huge role in helping the Gophers replace the production of center Daniel Oturu, who led the team in scoring last season before getting selected No. 33 overall in the NBA Draft. It was just the second time in Robbins' college career that he'd hit three 3-pointers in a game.