Minnesota blows out North Dakota St., now faces injury concerns

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 25, 2010 - 6:42 AM

The Gophers improved to 6-0, but some injury concerns crept into the picture.

North Dakota State’s Marshall Bjorklund and the basketball got lost in a sea of Gophers defenders.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The 15th-ranked Gophers need this holiday weekend.

They've played four tough games in seven days, including three in the Caribbean.

In their last matchup, an 84-65 victory over North Dakota State on Wednesday, Rodney Williams left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. He returned to the sideline with a walking boot on his right foot.

Coach Tubby Smith said Williams will get an MRI on his ankle Friday.

"I felt it pop a couple times, so we'll see," Williams said as he left the arena.

It's just the latest injury scare in recent days.

Forward Trevor Mbakwe, who scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the Bison in his sixth consecutive game with at least 10 points and seven rebounds, fell awkwardly during his team's victory over West Virginia in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title game Sunday, the Gophers' third game in four days. He left the game but returned within a few minutes.

Blake Hoffarber utilized an off-the-dribble midrange jumper during a 24-point performance (10-for-16 shooting) that led all scorers. But he struggled with his cuts on defense after tweaking an ankle in practice Tuesday.

And Al Nolen, who led the Gophers (6-0) with five assists and five steals, is nursing a foot injury, Smith said after the game.

"Hopefully this injury bug doesn't hit us and hurt us too much and these guys can get back soon," he said.

Hoffarber said he's not worried about injuries affecting his team's momentum. But the Thanksgiving break will help, as the Gophers prepare for Monday's matchup against Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Puerto Rico Tip-Off took a physical toll on the team, he said.

"It definitely wears at your legs, but I think Coach [Smith] did a good job of making the practices a little shorter," Hoffarber said. "Hopefully this vacation almost -- it's not a vacation because we're going to be practicing -- but this time away from playing so many games in a row is going to help us out a lot."

The possibility of injury makes depth one of the Gophers' most important qualities. Gophers reserves scored 33 points against the Bison (3-2).

Freshman Austin Hollins scored eight points and finished with four assists as a fill-in for Williams. Even Mo Walker, a 6-10, 300-pound power forward, sank a pair of three-point shots that drew the most vociferous reaction from an announced crowd of 12,056.

And Colton Iverson recorded nine points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes. "There's always foul trouble or somebody could just be having an off night, and no matter what night it is everybody has to be able to come out and play their top game," he said.

The Gophers hit 52 percent of their field goals and 57 percent of their three-pointers in the first half and led 42-26 at halftime.

But the Bison, a team with eight Minnesotans on the roster, wouldn't quit. They started the second half on an 18-8 tear that cut a 16-point halftime deficit to six points.

The Gophers responded by locking up the paint (12 blocks) and forcing North Dakota State to take more difficult shots from outside (the Bison shot 37 percent). The Gophers closed the game on a 34-21 run.

They'll rest on Thanksgiving.

"We've got [Thursday] off, so that'll be nice," Hoffarber said.


    Up next: 6 p.m. Monday vs. Virginia

    Williams Arena • TV: ESPN2 (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 5 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: D. O`Day 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Cleveland - LP: K. Crockett 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 5
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 5
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 15
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Lackey 2
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 3
Texas - WP: L. Bonilla 12 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 3
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: O. Despaigne 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
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
New England
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
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Tulane 11:30 AM
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Marshall 1:00 PM
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Utah 2:30 PM
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Texas State 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 5
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 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
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question