Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Big Game Feb. 26: Minnesota Gopher men 77 Indiana Hoosiers 73

For the 4th time in history, the Gopher men have beaten a #1-rated opponent at Williams Arena. The 1st was defending national champ Kentucky in 1951. The 2nd was Indiana the following year. Illinois was the 3rd in 1998. And now Indiana is the 1st to lose at the Barn twice as the #1 team in the nation.

The Gophers made just 7-of-14 FT inside of 2:30 and so failed to give themselves and their fans a little more breathing room. Instead the game was clinched finally only on an Andre Hollins FT at :03.

Minnesota led early 8-2 and 16-10, but Indiana ripped off a 13-2 run to lead 23-18 at 8:55 of the 1st. The Gophers tied it up at 27 at 7:03 on a Maverick Ahanmisi 3, but trailed 34-30 at the half. The Hoosiers had their largest lead, 44-36 at 15:42 of the 2nd.

That's when Minnesota prevented the loss, outscoring Indiana 15-2 to go ahead 51-48 at 8:51. Ahanmisi's 2nd huge 3 started the run. What then to think of Eliot Eliason's 3 straight buckets, 1 of them starting a 2 + 1, over the next 2 minutes. Then two Andre Ingram FTs tied it up, and an Andre Hollins 3 put the Gophers ahead.

4 minutes later Indiana re-took the lead at 59-58. Now Minnesota ran off a 10-2 streak on an Austin Hollins 2 + 1, an Andre 3, a lay-up by Rodney Williams and a fastbreak dunk by Joe Coleman. 68-61. 2:31 to go. Indiana stayed close the rest of the way but never caught up. In fact, it was never a 1 possession game with the Hoosiers in possession.

The numbers were pretty close except for 1. Minnesota made 5 more FG on 11 more attempts thanks to 23 offensive rebounds. The 2nd chance points were 23-8. Mbakwe and Austin had 10 of the 23 offensive boards. Mbakwe also led with 21 points.

Player of the Day: Trevor Mbakwe
Coach of the Day: Tubby Smith

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