The Gophers snagged another blowout tonight (against Toledo this time) and improved to 2-0 on the season.
But the game where the Gophers put it all together -- all the things we’ve seen from them individually -- still hasn’t happened yet.
The Gophers played a sloppy second half tonight and showed plenty of areas that need to be significantly shored up before heading to Battle 4 Atlantis and facing Duke in the opening round.
But first, let’s go through the positive. It was, after all, an 82-56 win.
• Rodney Williams hasn’t been in the spotlight for any of these games, preseason or regular season. But in each one, he’s just been quietly chugging away, putting up great stat lines, minimizing mistakes and making his teammates look better. He’s easily been the most consistent player this year. Tonight he finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks. The one area where Williams slipped was with his free throws, where he made only two of six.
• Austin Hollins has been the ignition the last couple games. Like against Minnesota State, he got the Gophers off to a running start, scoring seven of their first nine points. Unfortunately, after Hollins notched 10 points in six minutes in the first half, he was taken out with two fouls and didn’t play again until the second half. Hollins (finished with 13) only played 17 minutes overall, by far the least so far this season.
• The Gophers did a good job on the boards tonight, winning the rebounding battle 51 to 27.Williams had the most with eight but Trevor Mbakwe grabbed seven.
• Mbakwe looked pretty encouraging again tonight, adding six points and two assists and two blocks to his seven rebounds.
• The Gophers made four 3-pointers in the first half. Looked great. But then (see below).
Now the bad …
• The Gophers’ energy dropped bigtime in the second half, when the defense got a little sloppy. Minnesota got away from it’s pressure play and looked lethargic.
• The Gophers had 19 turnovers (to only 18 assists). After the American game when Minnesota had just eight, it was discouraging to see.
• Joe Coleman – who had a good night offensively with 15 points – led the turnover charge with eight of his own turnovers. Coleman has clearly improved leaps and bounds since last year, but it’s clear he still has a ways to go defensively. In the second half, he was taken off his man Rian Pearson, who scored 18 points on him. The only member of the starting five that did not have a turnover was Austin Hollins.
• Early in the first half, the Gophers’ perimeter game looked great. Hollins made a pair of three pointers. Maverick Ahanmisi and Coleman chimed in with one each. At that point, the Gophers were 4-for-5 from behind the arc (good for 80 percent) less than eight minutes in. But the Gophers made just one of nine (11 percent) the rest of the way. Austin Hollins made three of four 3-point shots, but as a whole, the team has got to improve.
• The Gophers are prepping freshman Charles Buggs for redshirting. Buggs would only play in the instance of an injury to a forward.
• Mbakwe said he plans to wear his brace for another month or a month and a half. “I can’t wait to take it off,” he said.