Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith has received plenty of criticism for Minnesota's inability at times to draw up and execute a successful play out of breaks.
Consider his most important such play in Sunday's 62-59 victory over Iowa a winner.
After the Hawkeyes' Roy Devyn Marble turned the ball over with 39 seconds remaining, Minnesota looked initially overwhelmed by the Hawkeyes defense and Smith called a timeout.
When the Gophers came back out, Andre Hollins inbounded the ball to Austin Hollins -- who came off a double screen at the top of the key and quickly got open.
"The shot was there, so I just took it," Austin said.
The junior guard -- who had been the team's go-to guy all game and finished with 17 points -- nailed a three-point shot to give the Gophers a 60-59 lead with 11.6 seconds to go.
"That was a good play we drew up for Austin to get the shot, and he came through for us," said senior forward Trevor Mbakwe. "I think all of our first thoughts were, 'This one is going in.'"
Turnover give and take
The Gophers' 12 turnovers Sunday didn't approach their season high and fell two short of their average. But the slip-ups -- which came in bunches and at the worst times -- seemed to have a major effect on the momentum.
Ultimately, Minnesota overcame those moments with solid defense, but the blunders didn't help alleviate any drama at the end of the game.
The Gophers had the ball with just over one minute left on the clock and trailing 59-57. But a poor pass by Joe Coleman -- who finished with five turnovers in addition to his 12 points -- gave the ball to the Hawkeyes with 66 seconds left.
Luckily for the Gophers, Marble followed by throwing the ball out of bounds on Iowa's next possession with 39 seconds to go, giving Minnesota another possession that led to Austin Hollins' three.
"After the turnover I had, we were all saying we've got to make a stop and make sure we make them take a tough shot and no second shots either," Coleman said. "And we were able to do that."
After scoring 23 points against Nebraska, the Minnesota bench went scoreless for the second time in the Big Ten schedule. In the first half, center Elliott Eliason played a big role, drawing charges and getting six rebounds two blocks, but no one else made much of an impact in relief. As a result, Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins played 37 and 35 minutes, respectively.
"We need to get more of a contribution from our bench," Smith said.