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Gophers lacking confidence, and a win

McClatchy Newspapers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. — It’s a quandary, a mind-twister right up there with that whole chicken or egg thing.

In order to win, a college basketball team has to play with confidence. But how, exactly, does a team get confidence without winning?

That is the puzzle that Gophers men’s basketball coach Dan Monson needs to solve. And in a hurry.

Playing less than 48 hours after a late game loss to Iowa State, the Gophers looked like a team with its head down Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Old Spice Classic. The result? A 63-56 loss to Marist that wasn’t as close as the score.

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With center Spencer Tollackson on the bench in street clothes because of a stomach virus, the Gophers (2-2) played passively. They didn’t work the ball inside, they didn’t attack and didn’t defend with any sort of vigor.

"We just weren’t a very sound basketball team and we weren’t a very confident basketball team,’’ Monson said.

Marist stretched its lead to double digits before the game was 15 minutes old and still led by nine at halftime.

The Gophers -- who will face a good Southern Illinois team in today's consolation semifinals — closed within two in the second half, but they never tied the game or held a lead.

Summary, Page 4D

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