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The Journal Gazette

  • ap Indiana's Robert Johnson, right, looks to pass as Minnesota's Isaiah Washington defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:00 am

Indiana 75 Minnesota 71

Career day from Johnson lifts IU

Hoosiers, Gophers missing key players

PATRICK DONNELLY | Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS – In a battle of shorthanded teams, Indiana found a way to thrive without its missing pieces, while Minnesota found out the rest of its season could be an uphill battle.

Robert Johnson scored a career-high 28 points, and Justin Smith and Juwan Morgan each added 20 as Indiana defeated Minnesota 75-71 on Saturday.

Nate Mason led Minnesota with 22 points and nine assists. Dupree McBrayer and Jordan Murphy each scored 18. Murphy grabbed 10 rebounds to extend the nation's longest double-double streak to 17 games.

Indiana (9-7, 2-2 Big Ten) was playing without one starter and found out just before the game that it would be missing another key rotation player. Sophomore post De'Ron Davis is out indefinitely after he suffered a lower-leg injury in practice Thursday. Senior sixth man Collin Hartman went through warm-ups but was held out of the game because of a sore right shoulder.

But other players stepped up, including Johnson, a senior guard who averages 12.7 points per game this year. He hit 10 of 21 shots, including three 3-pointers, while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out a season-high seven assists. Smith hit 7 of 10 shots, and Morgan hit three 3-pointers and had a game-high 12 rebounds.

“It was a next-man-up mentality when De'Ron went down, and then we saw Collin go down,” Morgan said. “The show doesn't stop because we're missing a few actors.”

Meanwhile, Minnesota (13-4, 2-2) played without its third- and fourth-leading scorers. Senior center Reggie Lynch, the 2017 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, was suspended Friday after allegations of sexual misconduct were made public. And sophomore guard Amir Coffey, who plays a team-leading 31.4 minutes per game, sat out with a shoulder injury he suffered in Wednesday's victory over Illinois.

The Gophers struggled inside without Lynch, who ranks third in the nation in blocked shots. Indiana grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, the most for any Minnesota opponent this season. And Coffey's absence was noted as the Gophers shot 33 percent from the floor in the first half.

Neither player is likely to return soon. Lynch has appealed his suspension from the university, but he is expected to be banned from playing while the appeal process plays out.

And Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said he didn't think Coffey would return “anytime soon” after being diagnosed with a HAGL lesion, which is an injury to a shoulder ligament.

“Adversity has hit right now ,and we've got to get these guys to continue to believe in each other,” Pitino said. “I loved their effort today. I thought they really played hard. It's just at the end of the day, Indiana made a few more plays than we did.”

Minnesota had a chance to tie the game in the final 20 seconds, but Mason and Murphy each missed 3-pointers before Johnson controlled the rebound, drew a foul and hit a free throw on the other end to seal the victory for Indiana.