The Minnesota hoopsters shot the ball miserably and fell behind--way behind--in the early going. They caught fire in the 2nd half, roared back to make a game of it, but couldn't make the plays down the stretch.
We're talking about the Minnesota Gopher men, of course...and about the Minnesota Timberwolves, too. Both used the same script and came to the same disappointing conclusion--a loss. You can't do all the bad things that both did, and win on the road against a Big 10 or an NBA opponent. It's that simple.
First, the Gophers. Tubby's crew shot 25 percent (8-for-32) for the 1st half, and trailed by as many as 13 at 37-24. The Illinois lead was still 13 at 48-35 when the Gophers ripped off runs on 10-0 and 19-6 to tie it up at 54. It stayed close from there until the Illini pulled away to an 81-72 double OT final. Julian Welch scored 15 points with 3 assists, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 FT opportunity with Minnesota leading by 2 and 15 seconds on the clock in regulation. Then with the score tied 70-all and 15 seconds remaining in the 1st OT, he missed a layup. Illinois out-scored the Gophers 11-2 after that.
Then there's the T-Wolves. They shot 35 percent (12-for-34) in the 1st half and trailed 60-48. Halfway through the 3rd the Bucks lead reached 20 points (at 75-55 and 79-59). But Minnesota scored the last 9 points of the 3rd to get within 9, then got within 2 at 94-92 with about 2 minutes remaining. But they then missed 4-of-their-last-6 shots. The final was Milwaukee 98 Minnesota 95.
Player of the Day: Nobody played 4 solid quarters for the Gophers or Wolves, so the Player of the Day is Whitney Tinjum of the Chisago Lakes girls, who scored 38 points as her team beat Park 64-55. Sydney Lamberty scored 25 for Park.
Coach of the Day: Bob Newstrom, Lakeview Christian. The Lions and star Anders Broman are erasing any doubt that they're for real this year. Now 6-0 after stepping up to Class AAA and thrashing Cambridge-Isanti 104-88. Broman scored 50.
For the next 4 days, the high schools take the spotlight with an annual glut of holiday tournaments for both the boys and girls. With Christmas on a Sunday this year, the week gets off to a slow start with no tournament games on Monday and just a few on Tuesday.
Today's best best is the Irondale girls tournament featuring Braham, Irondale, Mounds View and St. Paul Humboldt.
Or if you prefer the boys Benilde, Eden Prairie, Holy Family and Waconia square off at Eden Prairie.