Men's basketball: Lackluster start, rousing finish for Gophers

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2007 - 11:41 PM

The Gophers used some full-court pressure to rattle Central Michigan in the second half and pull away.

JENNIFER SIMONSON ¥ jsimonson@startribune.comMinneapolis, MN-Nov. 24, 2007University of Minnesota center Spencer Tollackson (50) dunked the ball during the second half against Central Michigan University. The Gophers won, 77-59.

Photo: Jennifer Simonson,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Maybe the tryptophan from Thursday's turkey wasn't out their systems, but whatever it was, the efficient, quick-paced Gophers squad that beat Iowa State on the road Tuesday was replaced by a sluggish team that needed some time to get rolling Saturday. But once the Gophers did get rolling, they coasted to a 77-59 victory over Central Michigan at Williams Arena.

After playing a close first half, Central Michigan appeared to be rattled in the second half as the Gophers applied more full-court pressure. Central Michigan committed 26 fouls, which led to the Gophers making 24 of 33 free-throw attempts. But Minnesota didn't help itself by finishing the game with 24 turnovers and only 16 assists, a ratio that worried Gophers coach Tubby Smith.

The first half started out with an ugly exchange. In the first five minutes of the game, there were five fouls, three jump-ball situations, violations for carrying the ball, traveling and kicking -- and only nine points between the two teams, with the Gophers leading 6-3. And both teams finished the first half with 11 fouls apiece. Minnesota's three seniors -- and leading scorers -- managed only 14 points.

"The first half was sloppy, I think for the most part. ... It was sloppy, but we won," said senior center Spencer Tollackson, who finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Smith said he wanted the Gophers to stay focused on Central Michigan and not look ahead to their matchup against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., on Tuesday as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Gophers looked sluggish early, but were ready to roll by the end of the first half when Tollackson hit a long-range three-pointer to end the half and give the Gophers a 35-29 advantage.

Smith said that shot propelled the Gophers into a solid second half. Minnesota went on a 12-3 run in under three minutes after halftime and never looked back.

"I think we built off the big shot that Spencer had there before the half," Smith said. "Something like that is always a big boost because we were behind, came back. So we're showing some signs of not giving up and not getting too frustrated."

In spite of their 0-3 record going into Saturday's game against Minnesota, Central Michigan managed to score more than 70 points per game in its three prior contests. The Chippewas displayed some of their offensive prowess against the Gophers, hitting 40 percent of their three-point attempts. Central Michigan tried to fight off the Gophers with a strong performance by MAC standout Giordan Watson, who finished with 22 points and five steals.

Throughout the season, the Gophers have shown a tendency to play better in the second half than the first, a trend that doesn't concern McKenzie.

"I think you have to come out and get a good start, but the second half is the time you have to pick things up the most," he said.


    Up next: ACC/Big Ten Challenge • at Florida State • 6:30 p.m. Tuesday • TV: ESPN 2 • Radio: 830-AM

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Gophers Football 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.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question