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Worst loss in years

MINNEAPOLIS -- The new-look Minnesota Gophers gave North Dakota State's men's basketball team a seldom-seen look - a blowout loss. In front of 12,454 fans at Williams Arena on Monday night, the Bison suffered an 88-56 loss - their worst loss in n...

MINNEAPOLIS -- The new-look Minnesota Gophers gave North Dakota State's men's basketball team a seldom-seen look - a blowout loss.

In front of 12,454 fans at Williams Arena on Monday night, the Bison suffered an 88-56 loss - their worst loss in nearly three years and the worst loss for the four junior starters.

"Very frustrating," said Bison point guard Ben Woodside.

A Bison team hadn't lost by that much since an 89-47 loss at Manhattan College in January of 2005 - when Woodside and three other juniors were sitting out the season as redshirt freshmen. The junior group, who have sustained only six double-digit losses during their three seasons at NDSU, hadn't lost this bad since the 2006 82-56 loss at Kansas State.

"It sure feels like we got overwhelmed," said Bison head coach Saul Phillips, whose team fell to 4-4. "I tip my hat to the way Tubby has his guys playing. Coach Smith has obviously energized this group."

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Phillips was referring to legendary coach Tubby Smith, who in his first year at Minnesota has already branded his defensive trademark on a Gopher team that won only nine games last season. With Monday's win, the Gophers improved to 5-1 and await Saturday's home game against Colorado State and former Bison head coach Tim Miles.

Smith's pressure defense, which produced a national championship at Kentucky and 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances at three different schools, was too much for the Bison too handle. The Bison committed 19 turnovers - six above its average.

And for the third straight season, the Bison shot less than 40 percent at Williams Arena.

In their 70-57 loss in 2005 to the Gophers, the Bison shots only 39.2 percent. In their 63-49 loss last year, they shot 29.2 percent. The last three years in The Barn, the Bison have made only 65 of 176 field goals.

"Tubby's got them playing at another level," said Woodside, who scored a team-high 17 points.

Brett Winkelman added 16 points and six rebounds for the Bison. Dickinson High graduate Lucas Moormann, NDSU's starting center, scored just one point.

NDSU had an 18-17 lead in the first half. But in final 10 minutes, 13 seconds before halftime, the Gophers outscored the Bison 27-9. During that stretch, the Bison made only 2 of 10 field goals and turned the ball over six times.

Meanwhile, Minnesota forward Dan Coleman scored all of his 9 first-half points with two dunks, one tip-in and a jumper in the lane. He finished with 15.

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The Forum and The Dickinson Press are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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