Read my game story on tonight's 82-72 Gophers win over Coastal Carolina here.
The Gophers did not have their best game on Tuesday, especially defensively, giving them plenty to work on tomorrow.
But the biggest concern for Minnesota on a short turnaround -- with a game against Wofford on Thursday -- should be the frontcourt situation.
In a scary moment on the court, Andre Hollins and Joey King colliding, Hollins' head hitting King's jaw. Both looked shaken up immediately afterward, but Hollins got up pretty quickly, while King -- appearing very woozy -- lied down on the court before walking off assisted by trainers. He didn't return for the rest of the game, and will be re-evaluated in the morning, perhaps getting X-rays of what the Gophers are calling a jaw contusion.
"They’re going to check him out tomorrow," coach Richard Pitino said. "We’re not sure exactly what it is just yet. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious. But yeah, we’re undermanned and especially in the frontcourt, even more undermanned, it would be very difficult. Hopefully we’ll get some good news tomorrow."
The loss of King would represent a big problem for the Gophers, who already have an extremely thin frontcourt as it is with center Mo Walker still serving his six-game suspension for violating university policy. On Tuesday, Elliott Eliason finished with eight points and 11 rebounds, but he had to play 34 minutes, and the Gophers' overall rebounding efforts were mediocre, tying Coastal Carolina with 33 a piece.
If King is out on Thursday, the Gophers would have to play both Eliason and Osenieks big minutes, while also relying more on a four-guard lineup than Pitino is comfortable with. It's not an ideal spot, even with Wofford not boasting much size.
"At first, sometimes you don’t know what happened," Andre Hollins said. "I wasn’t sure if he was OK or I was OK, but I hope and pray that he is doing well and it’s not something really serious. If he’s hurt bad, I hope it’s a speedy recovery. If not, we’ve got to step it up. We’re a scrappy team, that’s part of our identity. We’ve just got to scrap it out and play without him, but hopefully that’s not the case."
Other notes on tonight's win:
- Once again, the Gophers backcourt played really strongly. Andre Hollins carried Minnesota in the first half with a 15 point performance (he finished with 19 overall, and five rebounds and four assists) and Austin Hollins (15 points, 11 in the second half; three rebounds, four assists)-- who scored nine consecutive points during one second-half stretch -- and DeAndre Mathieu (17 points, six assists, four rebounds, got to the line six times in the last five minutes) took off in the second, solidifying the win.
- After consecutive games recording a double-double, Austin Hollins broke his short streak. Probably better to reset expectations a little.
- Andre Hollins came just short of his third consecutive 20-point performance.
- Austin Hollins gets the nod for play of the game with an absolutely thunderous putback dunk after leaping after one of Andre's errant shots.
- The Gophers had probably their worst defensive effort of the year on Tuesday, allowing Coastal Carolina to shoot nine three-pointers and finish with a 51.9 field goal percentage. The Chanticleers' backcourt displayed its quickness in breaking the Gophers' press early, and Minnesota's 2-3 zone was not very sharp. "I don’t think their effort was bad -- it was more their mental sharpness wasn’t great," Pitino said. "We sped them up, but we didn’t our job after that, and a lot of that has to do with just growing and understanding teams are going to do different things against you in the press."