Notes from tonight’s 67-57 win over Fairfield:
- Rodney Williams and Ralph Sampson III both turned their ankles late in the game. Coach Tubby Smith said both injuries are likely not serious, but they will each get X-rays tomorrow.
- Trevor Mbakwe was again the star of the game -- and did so in a way he never was able to last season – making 16 of 18 shots from the free-throw line. Mbakwe said his shooting was something he worked on a lot during the offseason and tinkered some with his mechanics, putting a greater arc on his shots. “That was the first thing I did in the offseason,” he said. “I missed too many free throws last year and I know teams are going to foul me and I have to make them pay for putting me at the line.”
- The Gophers, with the help of Mbakwe, shot 90 percent from the line in the second half.
- Otherwise, it was an ugly, ugly game. There were 43 turnovers total – 23 of which were Minnesota’s. Fairfield pressed the Gophers more than they’ve been used to seeing so far this season, and the lack of experience showed. “It was a sloppy game but that just shows there are still things we have to work on,” Austin Hollins said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball better.”
- The Gophers shot 2-for-8 from three-point range, but won the battle behind the arc for once. Fairfield went 2-for-16, good for 12.5 percent.
- With another game down, the point guard competition looks more open than ever. Andre Hollins, Julian Welch and Maverick Ahanmisi all got between 14 and 20 minutes and each had at least one turnover. While Hollins scored a season-high 12 points, went 8-for-9 from the line and showed more aggressiveness than he has to this point, he had five turnovers to go with his impressive moments.
- Austin Hollins helped turn the momentum at the tail end of the first half with two dunks, the first of which was a ferocious, one-handed putback.
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