So … what were we talking about yesterday? The Gophers not looking necessarily like a tournament team?
What a change a day can bring.
Today, the Gophers have a 40-point scorer with Andre Hollins – the first since 1971, by the way – and a signature win over a ranked team at a neutral site.
And for the most part, the Gophers looked pretty darn good on Friday.
Hollins was magnificent, finishing with 41 points on a dunk with 13 seconds left in the game. The sophomore hung on the rim for a few extra seconds, grinning at the cheering crowd.
It was the perfect culmination to his nearly perfect day, in which he went 5-for-5 from three-point range, 12-for-13 from the free throw line and was clutch down the stretch.
From the start, it seemed like it was a personal game for Hollins, who grew up in Memphis, and has played with many of the Memphis players through the years, including Joe Jackson, who was Mr. Basketball at White Station High School a year before Hollins was. Many of the guys he played against today were a lot more recruited than he was. But Memphis coach Josh Pastner discards the idea that Memphis just wasn’t that interested.
“We recruited him, we offered him a scholarship – we recruited him hard,” Pastner said. “He just didn’t want to come, he felt we were loaded on the guard spot. It wasn’t one of those things where we chose someone over him or anything like that. Just like we recruited Austin Hollins. “We recruited both kids, we were the first ones to offer them scholarships. We would have taken both kids if they wanted to come.”
Some other notes from today’s 84-75 win:
- Former high school teammate of Hollins -- Joe Jackson – didn’t have quite the day Andre did, playing for just seven minutes after struggling early. He finished with two points, one rebound and two turnovers. Jackson struggled on Thursday as well, scoring just six points against VCU. “I would just say to keep his head up and start playing basketball like Joe Jackson,” said Hollins when asked what he would say to Jackson today if they talked. “Because we know he’s a great player. Mr. Bball before me. He has the scoring record at White Station. And he taught me a lot. So I think some of my game today reflected on a lot of what he’s taught me.
- Rodney Williams once again had a solid performance in backup of Hollins. He’s really getting to be the most reliable person on the team. 13 points, six rebounds.
- Officially, Frosted Flakes is the breakfast of champions, via Hollins, who at that for breakfast this morning.
- Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams got into foul trouble early and with the pair of big men on the bench, Andre Ingram had a good effort for the Gophers off the bench, taking three key charges and grabbing some big rebounds. Ingram looks to be building on the improvement we started to see from him at the end of last season.
- Memphis just barely edged out the Gophers on rebounding – 36 to 34 – but Minnesota struggled to box out the Tigers at points, and gave Memphis 17 points off second chances.
- Despite the Gophers terrific day, they had 17 turnovers. Need to tighten that up, badly.
- Said Rodney Williams, of Hollins’ dunk at the end of the game: “It’s about time he dunked the ball.”
- The last Minnesota player to score 40 points in a game was Oliver Shannon, when he did it against Wisconsin in 1971.
- After the game, Memphis asst. coach Jimmy Williams walked to the locker room without shaking hands. Williams sued Tubby Smith and the Gophers over a rescinded job offer.
- The Gophers play Stanford tomorrow at 2:30 CT in a rematch of last year’s NIT final, in which the Cardinal beat the Gophers 75-51 at Madison Square Garden.
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