Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Big Game 1-22-12: Gopher Men Hammer Northwestern 75-52

The Minnesota Gopher men won their 3rd straight Big 10 game Sunday night by hammering the Northwestern Wildcats 75-52 at Williams Arena. The Gophers broke out of a tie with the Wildcats for 9th and 10th in the Big 10 (at 2-4), moving up 1 slot to a tie with the Iowa Hawkeyes for 8th and 9th (at 3-4). And just in time, too, as 3 of the next 4 games are on the road and the 4th is against #22 Illinois.

But the Gophers should go into this next clutch of games with confidence high after manhandling Northwestern from end to end. It was 11-0 after 6 minutes of play, then 21-4 after 9 minutes. and 36-14 after 16. The score at the half was 41-24. Northwestern got within 16 in the 2nd half at 60-44, 62-46 and 64-48 but an 11-4 run to the final buzzer brought Minnesota its largest lead of the night.

Minnesota simply out-shot Northwestern from 2-point land, 27-for-40 (67.5 percent) to 10-for-29 (35 percent), and also from the FT line 71 percent to 40 percent (8-for-20). The Wildcats out-shot the Gophers from beyond the arc 31 percent to 25 percent, had 8 offensive rebounds to Minnesota's 5, and had 10 turnovers to Minnesota's 12.

The Gophers out-rebounded Northwestern 40-28 overall, though that's just because the Wildcats missed so many shots. And Minnesota had 10 steals and 5 blocked shots to Northwestern's 5 and 3.

5 Gophers scored in double figures--Joe Coleman with 16, Julian Welch with 14, Austin Hollins and Rodney Williams with 11, and Ralph Sampson with 10. Welch and Sampson had 6 boards apiece, Welch 5 assists and Williams 3 blocks.

Gopher Women Lose

Meanwhile, the Gopher women trailed Nebraska 27-23 at 4:48 of the 1st half. Early in the 2nd half they trailed 47-23. In between they shot 0-for-9 with 5 turnovers. Meanwhile Nebraska scored on 9-of-11 possessions.

Player of the Day

Julian Welch 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assist

Coach of the Day

Tubby Smith, Minnesota Gopher men

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