Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Big Game Jan. 29--Minnesota Gopher men 84 Nebraska 65

Coming off a 4 game losing streak, the Minnesota Gophers took their frustrations out on lowly (2-6, now 2-7) Nebraska, aggressively attacking the rim for dunk after dunk after dunk and an 84-65 rout of the Cornhuskers. Sure, Nebraska didn't put up much of a fight, but the Gophers can't help their opponent's faults. They can only exploit them. And they did. The Gophers did what they had to do and they did it well.

Rodney Williams set the tone with a dunk off the opening tip, with an assist to Austin Hollins. Rodney followed that with a pair of throws off of an offensive board and another dunk off of another offensive board for a quick 7-0 lead. Four more layups followed by Rodney, Trevor Mbakwe, Mbakwe again and Austin Hollins. By now it was 19-8. But then came 2 more dunks by Trevor and Rodney, and another lay-up by Austin.

Finally Minnesota hit its 1st bucket other than layups and dunks. That was a jumper by Rodney at 12: 14 that gave Minnesota a 23-8 lead. The lead varied from 7 to 14 points, and it was 44-35 at the half.

The Gophers mostly extended their lead in the 2nd half. Only once, at 48-40, did Nebraska shorten the lead. But at 48-40, Andre Hollins hit 3-for-3 FT, then a jumper, and Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman each scored a pair of buckets to make it 63-47 at 11:03. The lead hit 20 at 71-51 at 5:56 after buckets by Maverick Ahanmisi, Oto Osenieks and Julian Welch. The much-maligned Gopher bench actually extended the lead from 14 to 20 points during that stretch.

Nebraska tried to make a game of it mostly on the incredible shooting of Ray Gallegos, who hit 6-of-10 3s and 6-of-7 2s for 30 points. The Huskers only other consistent weapon was post Brandon Uble, but he was way out-numbered in the paint and the Gophers' onslaught against the rim got him into foul trouble and he committed his 5th with more than 7 minutes remaining. He finished with 13 points but just 1 rebound.

Both teams shot 54 percent but Minnesota got off 15 more FGs and 8 more FT attempts. The Gophers forced a number of Nebraska turnovers off of a full court man defense, but it was on the glass that Minnesota really dominated, 38-23. On the Gophers' offensive glass, Minnesota grabbed 18 caroms to just 16 defensive boards for Nebraska. On the other end Minnesota's edge was 20-7. As a result, the Gophers scored 22 2nd chance points to just 3 for the Huskers.

Rodney Williams scored 23 points with 6 boards, Andre Hollins scored 14, and Austin Hollins scored 11 with 5 assists. Ahanmisi was the Gophers' best player off the bench with 9.

Next, another eminently winnable home game vs. Iowa before its on the road against to East Lansing.

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