Yes, it wasn't exactly the, um, stiffest competition tonight, but for an exhibition game, the Gophers got out of it exactly what they wanted: solid returns from their two previously injured big men, some team-wide potential and, of course, a win.
Were they perfect? No. But no one expects them to be on the first exhibition of the year, either.
Some notes on tonight’s 81-56 victory over Minnesota State at the Barn.
- First: the returns. Both Trevor Mbakwe and Mo Walker got their 2012-13 debuts in the first half, and each looked to be moving well on their knees. Walker – though still a little overweight – got around really well for his size. He hit a pretty hook shot soon after entering and finished with eight points and a rebound. Mbakwe moved well, but a bit cautiously at times, and finished with four points and three rebounds.
- Joe Coleman looked great around the rim tonight, leading the team with 21 points, most of which were scored right around the basket. He said afterward he feels a lot more comfortable coming into his sophomore season. He also hit five of six free throws.
- The Gophers had six players finish with six points or more: Coleman, Austin Hollins (9), Rodney Williams (8), Oto Osenieks (6), Andre Ingram (6) and Walker (8).
- Austin Hollins also had nine assists. “Guys were just open,” he said.
- Ingram looked solid after showing significant improvement at the end of last season. Some light bulbs are starting to go off.
- The Gophers had 14 turnovers – a real problem. Ball handling was an issues last season and should be a focus heading into the regular season next week. Coleman had the most, with three.
- Andre Hollins said coming in as starting point guard felt much different than a year ago, when he was fighting for a spot, but the sophomore struggled to get into the offense tonight. He got two early fouls and played just five minutes in the first half, and finished with four points, no assists and two turnovers.
- The Gophers shot fantastically from the field (63.2 percent), particularly in the first half (72 percent).
- Despite the hefty size advantage, the Gophers out-rebounded Minnesota State just 36-30. The Mavericks had 14 offensive rebounds. Probably has something to do with the two big guys coming back, but that will certainly be something the Gophers focus on heading into Monday.
- Next up: exhibition against Southwest Babtist (MO) on Monday.
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