Wednesday’s Gophers men’s basketball game at Penn State postponed

After COVID testing Monday, Minnesota below NCAA minimum of seven available scholarship players

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Minnesota
Minnesota Gophers guard E.J. Stephens (20) dribbles the ball during the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Harrison Barden / USA Today Sports

The Minnesota men’s basketball team’s game against Penn State scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed because of internal COVID-19 protocols within the Gophers program, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.

The Gophers were without four players for last Sunday’s 81-71 loss to Iowa at Williams Arena because of what the team called “injury, illness and protocols.” Following additional testing on Monday, Minnesota fell below the Big Ten Conference roster minimum of seven available scholarship players.

Senior center Eric Curry missed Sunday’s game because of an ankle injury, but sixth-man Sean Sutherlin and forward Danny Ogele, who was expected to play increased minutes in Curry’s absence, also missed the game. So did walk-on guard Joey Kern.

Gophers coach Ben Johnson was not available for comment on Tuesday but after Sunday’s game he expressed some concern.

“We hope those guys recover and get back to health and rejoin the team as soon as they can,” he said. “And we hope that everybody who’s here, knock on wood, stays healthy and stays safe and we don’t have that pause, we’re able to keep going and keep playing.”


There was no indication Tuesday afternoon that all team activities had been paused.

This is the second time a Gophers game has been affected by COVID this season but the first time because of issues in their own program. A home game scheduled Dec. 29 against Alcorn State was canceled because of COVID issues in the Braves program, and a game against Illinois was rescheduled.

Minnesota said it will coordinate with Penn State and the Big Ten office to reschedule the game. The Gophers’ next game is scheduled for Saturday against Rutgers at the Barn. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m.

On Friday, the University of Minnesota announced a proof-of-vaccination policy for all university events with attendance of 200 or more. It goes into effect on Jan. 26 and is scheduled to remain through Feb. 9. Under the new rules, individuals ages 5 and older must show proof of vaccination or a negative, third-party COVID-19 test taken in the previous 72 hours to gain entrance.

Starting Wednesday, guests of restaurants and other entertainment venues in St. Paul and Minneapolis must show they are vaccinated before entering.

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