The Big Ten schedule was turning into the usual grind and this Gophers basketball team had taken on a small-hearted appearance. This was far from a first in the disappointing Tubby Smith Era.
On Thursday night, the Gophers were host to the narcolepsy-inducing Wisconsin Badgers, the ugliest No. 20-ranked team in the history of college basketball rankings.
The Gophers came out ready to adopt the Badgers' stodgy approach. It was 10-4 for the Badgers at the first TV timeout, and it was 10-4 for the Badgers at the second TV timeout.
Wisconsin started by hitting a pair of threes, and then clanked away at 1-for-11 for the remainder of the half. You almost had to shed a tear for that poor rim on the east basket in the Barn.
This Badger blacksmithing allowed the Gophers to go on an 8-0 waddle at the end of the half and cut the lead to 24-22. And from then on, everyone in the announced crowd of 14,625 knew it would remain a night of mud wrestling until a narrow winner was declared.
That turned out to be the Gophers, 58-53 in overtime. They got there by showing much more fight than had been on display during a disgusting 2-6 slide that put them closer to the bad teams in the Big Ten than the good ones.
Wisconsin was leading 47-43 when Ben Brust made a jumper with 6:11 left in regulation. This was it: exactly the type of game the Badgers always win and adds to Bo Ryan's legend as a coaching genius.
One problem. The Badgers scored on two free throws, missed five shots and turned it over four times in that final 6:11. And then they missed seven shots to open overtime.
Twelve straight misses. Four turnovers. And no field goals from the time Brust scored at 6:11 until Jared Berggren's putback with 10 seconds remaining in OT. That's four free throws and no other points in 11 minutes.
If Wisconsin is No. 20, I don't want to be forced to watch No. 21.
And still, the Gophers looked to be in a bad way when Traevon Jackson got away with a world-class flop, and Wisconsin had the lead at 49-43 with 5:08 left in regulation.
Jackson is the son of former Ohio State and NBA standout Jim Jackson. He resembles his father facially and across the shoulders. As a player, it's a different story. He went 3-for-14 from the field, and his attempts at a Jordan Taylor impersonation down the stretch were hapless.
Taylor, the point guard from Benilde-St. Margaret's, had a full career of succeeding in the clutch at Wisconsin.
The Gophers needed more than Wisconsin's ineptitude to put an end to a month of drudgery -- starting with the Michigan loss in the Barn on Jan. 17.
They needed Joe Coleman, a mediocre free throw shooter, to make two free throws for a 49-49 tie with 17 seconds left. They needed Austin Hollins and helpers to force a horrendous final shot by Jackson at the end of regulation.
In overtime, the Gophers needed Andre Hollins -- the sophomore guard with the ability to be his team's dagger thrower -- to hit a three at 3:36 for the first points by either team in overtime.
That loosened up the Gophers and the home crowd. Later, Trevor Mbakwe went above traffic to secure a defensive rebound ... showing those enormously strong hands that were remembered fondly from his junior season of 2010-11.
A moment later, Mbakwe was thrown to the floor by Jackson in a tangle on the Gophers' offensive end. Trevor could have stayed to protest a no-call, but he got up and hustled to play defense.
This was mentioned to Mbakwe and the sixth-year senior said: "Things are moving too fast to complain. You can't give up a basket at the other end because you're worried about a call.
"We won this game with great defense. We hadn't been pressing teams with our defense, but we did tonight.''
Mbakwe came down with another rebound and then was fouled. He's a subpar free throw shooter, but he made two there to make it 54-49, and the Gophers held on.
They were still alive. Their hearts were back to pumping blood.
Patrick Reusse can be heard oon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. • firstname.lastname@example.org
|Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias||2||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa||16|
|San Francisco - WP: S. Romo||4||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: A. Reed||2|
|Boston - LP: C. Buchholz||1||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano||9|
|Toronto - LP: J. Happ||1||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: B. Norris||6|
|Washington - LP: R. Detwiler||1||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: A. Wood||3|
|Miami - WP: H. Alvarez||4||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: D. Gee||3|
|NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy||3||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb||2|
|Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino||1||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks||3|
|Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale||2||FINAL|
|Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura||6|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco||2||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer||0|
|Detroit - LP: D. Price||4||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson||8|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers||0||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright||2|
|Seattle - LP: J. Paxton||0||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson||5|
|Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr.||6||FINAL|
|Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle||1|
|Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels||5||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: E. Stults||2|
|Tampa Bay||7:25 PM|
|San Diego||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Dallas||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Washington||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Houston||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Minnesota||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||9/21/14 3:05 PM|
|Denver||9/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Kansas City||9/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/21/14 7:30 PM|
|Chicago||9/22/14 7:30 PM|
|(5) Auburn||6:30 PM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Connecticut||9/19/14 7:00 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Troy||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Georgia Tech||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Eastern Mich||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|(11) Michigan State|
|Iowa||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Bowling Green||9/20/14 11:00 AM|
|Maryland||9/20/14 11:30 AM|
|Tulane||9/20/14 11:30 AM|
|Hawaii||9/20/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||9/20/14 1:00 PM|
|North Carolina||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Army||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Virginia||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Rutgers||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Central Mich||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Utah||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Florida||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Louisville||9/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Indiana||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas State||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Massachusetts||9/20/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia State||9/20/14 5:00 PM|
|Appalachian St||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Miss State||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Utah State||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Miami-Ohio||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Ball State||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|(14) So Carolina||9/20/14 6:30 PM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/20/14 6:30 PM|
|Ga Southern||9/20/14 6:30 PM|
|UNLV||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|(22) Clemson||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Miami-Florida||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|New Mexico||9/20/14 7:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|California||9/20/14 9:00 PM|
|Louisiana||9/20/14 9:30 PM|
|(2) Oregon||9/20/14 9:30 PM|
|San Diego St||9/20/14 9:30 PM|
|Toronto||9/19/14 9:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/20/14 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||9/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Ottawa||9/21/14 3:00 PM|
|Montreal||9/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/26/14 9:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/27/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/27/14 8:30 PM|
Poll: Do you support Wednesday's decision to sideline Adrian Peterson again?