Gophers go right to work under new coach

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 11, 2007 - 12:07 AM

The victory was no classic, but the effort on the floor revived a buzz at the Barn.

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Minnesota coach Tubby Smith yelled instructions to Damian Johnson after Johnson hit a three-point shot against Army during the first half at Williams Arena Saturday

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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It all felt fresh Saturday. The "Tubby Time" T-shirts. An excited Gophers crowd. And a hard-nosed performance by a men's basketball team that is expected to outdo last season's 9-22 finish with the help of a new coach.

With seven minutes left and their team leading by 33 points, three Gophers dived to the floor in a battle for a loose ball. That scrappy defensive effort defined the first game -- an 84-52 victory -- of Tubby Smith's tenure.

The Barn is no Rupp Arena, the venue Smith coached in the past 10 seasons at Kentucky, but he was impressed with the atmosphere at Williams Arena.

"We've got a great group of fans," he said. "Obviously, I'm excited to have a band; we've got a great pep band and our student body, I know they'll be filling up over there.

"They're excited, and not just them but everyone in the building."

The Gophers caused 25 turnovers, blocked 10 shots and had 13 steals, holding Army to 35.2 percent shooting from the floor.

"We got after it pretty good defensively," Smith said. "I thought our guys were very focused and very aggressive with their active hands, getting deflections."

Smith said he won at Kentucky by divvying up the scoring load. With 10 minutes to go in the game, Lawrence McKenzie, last season's leading scorer, sank his first points of the game. Every Gopher who played Saturday scored, with senior Dan Coleman leading all scorers with 16 points.

Surprise standout Damian Johnson added 12 points and four blocks.

Smith had some concerns about Army's leading scorer, Jarell Brown, going into the game, but the senior who averaged 17 points last season was held to five, in 21 minutes.

Smith has demanded tough defense in every preseason practice and exhibition game. The Gophers made few mistakes on defense Saturday, forcing 13 Army turnovers in the first half while building a 42-26 lead.

With five minutes remaining in the second half, Army guard Marcus Nelson took the ball from the top the key and drove hard to the lane and put up a shot that Gophers center Jon Williams blocked into the student section. That's the way things went for Army for the entire game.

Smith's teams had scored no fewer than 81 points in his debuts at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky, winning two out of three. He cracked the 80-point barrier again Saturday, as the Gophers shot 43.5 percent.

Throughout the game, Smith maintained his legendary level of intensity. Although the Gophers led by 19 in the first half, Smith jumped up and called timeout because the Gophers weren't moving on offense the way he wanted them to.

The Gophers hope to build momentum early and not face some of the early pitfalls they endured last season. After winning their first two games, the Gophers went on a five-game losing streak that led to the firing of former head coach Dan Monson.

They'll have to remain fresh until Nov. 20 when they take on Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.

McKenzie said this year's Gophers squad is an underestimated team that proved Saturday it has the talent to play competitive basketball.

He also said he was not concerned that he scored only two points, an output that he said had nothing to do with a groin injury he suffered last week.

  • GOPHERS 84, ARMY 52

    Up next: at Iowa State • 7 p.m. Nov. 20 • Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa • No TV • 830-AM

    PATRICK REUSSE

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Cincinnati 0 Top 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Baltimore 8
NY Yankees 5 Top 7th Inning
Toronto 1
Philadelphia 1 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Mets 1
Boston 8 Bottom 5th Inning
Tampa Bay 1
Miami 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Atlanta 0
Cleveland 4 Bottom 3rd Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit 0 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Texas 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
Houston 1
Chicago Cubs 1 Top 4th Inning
St. Louis 2
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 28 3rd Qtr
Connecticut 7
(6) Jacksonville St 0 3rd Qtr
(8) Michigan State 38
Bowling Green 7 2nd Qtr 5:55
Western Ky 21
TX-San Antonio 0 1st Qtr 14:56
Houston 0
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 0 1st Half 28:00
Sporting Kansas City 0
Ottawa 3
Montreal 8
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
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

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