Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Big Game 3-27-12: Gopher men outlast Huskies

2 teams with something to play for: Washington, the only regular season champion of a BCS conference ever left out of the NCAA tournament field. Minnesota, with 2 straight years of terrible play in February. Here they are in the semi-finals of the NIT, clawing and scratching for every point and every rebound and every little advantage they can come up with, through regulation and on into OT.

Minnesota never trailed in regulation. It was tied at 11 and 61. The Gophers largest leads were 38-23 at :09 of the 1st half (but Washington hit a 3 at the buzzer), and 53-42 at 8:18 of the 2nd. But the Huskies went on a 19-8 run to the final buzzer and tied it with 16 seconds left. Dre made a pair of throws at :28. Washington countered with a pair of throws at :22 and then a bucket at :16. I don't know what happened in between there but I can tell you this. The Live Stats shows the Minnesota has 0 (zero) turnovers and that Washington has 0 (zero) turnovers. My guess is one of those happened. Dre missed a shot at the buzzer.

But he (Dre) hit a 2 + 1 early in OT for a 64-61 lead. Otherwise both teams missed 7 shots before a 2nd bucket was scored, then a third, then a fourth. The Gophers led 66-65 at the 1 minute mark. A Dre J made it 68-65 at :28 and Minnesota still has never trailed in the game. But it hadn't yet gotten a stop at the end of a "period" of play. Nor this time, but Terrence Ross missed a 3 and the Huskies settled for a two-point put-back by Darrell Gant at :04. Gophers by 1. Julian Welch missed 2 throws (wow, is there a pattern there?) but Washington was unable to do anything in the time that remained.

Minnesota 68 Washington 67. Rodney Williams 18 points 10 boards. Dre Hollins 20 points 5 assists. Austin Hollins 12 points. Now it is on to the NIT final where they will meet Stanford, 74-64 winners over  UMass. Minnesota will be looking to win the NIT for the third time.

Player of the Day

Dre Hollins

Coach of the Day

Tubby Smith

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