Gophers close fast again to reach tourney final

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 25, 2011 - 11:05 PM

Just like the day before, the Gophers went small down the stretch, rallying from a second half deficit to defeat Indiana State.

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Minnesota guard Maverick Ahanmisi dribbled past Indiana State's Steve McWhorter during Friday's semifinals at the Old Spice Classic at HP Field House at Walt Disney World.

Photo: Steve Johnson, ESPN

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ORLANDO - One Minnesota sports team said goodbye to a longtime closer this week. But another might have found an entire lineup that can finish off games.

For the second time in two games at the Old Spice Classic, a late-game lineup of Julian Welch, Chip Armelin, Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams and Austin Hollins made big plays down the stretch for the Gophers men's basketball team. And for the second consecutive game, the Gophers erased a big second-half deficit, this time closing on a 27-11 run to defeat Indiana State 76-69 and earn a berth in Sunday's tournament championship game.

Welch and Armelin, in particular, helped rescue the Gophers (6-0). The guards came off the bench to combine for 30 points, including a game-high 17 for Welch. He scored 11 after halftime, adding six rebounds and a 6-for-6 performance from the line -- almost as efficient as those 1-2-3 innings Twins fans grew to love and will miss now that Joe Nathan is gone.

Welch also earned high praise from a man who doesn't dish it out all that easily.

"I thought Julian played an outstanding game," coach Tubby Smith said. "That was the difference in the game."

Minnesota trailed 58-51 with 7:21 when the closing five -- who made big plays on both ends of the court Thursday in a one-point victory over DePaul -- was reunited. By the time Smith made another substitution, the deficit was just 62-61. Shortly thereafter Welch made a fast-break layup to give the Gophers their first lead since late in the first half. A layup by Armelin put the Gophers back ahead for good at 67-66, while Welch and Armelin combined to go 7-for-8 from the line in the final two minutes to seal the game.

"I live for those kinds of moments," said Welch, a junior college transfer. "I just go out there and have fun with it."

The Gophers guards foiled an Indiana State game plan that, for a while, was working to perfection. Sycamores coach Greg Lansing wanted his team to crowd Mbakwe and not let Rodney Williams get to the basket. Those two players and Ralph Sampson III combined for just 13 points, which sounds like a recipe for a Gophers loss.

But it opened up driving lanes and perimeter chances for Gophers guards. Starting point guard Andre Hollins had 16 points in 19 minutes while battling foul trouble for a second consecutive game. He was 4-for-5 from three-point range, leading an 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) performance by the team.

"That's how teams are going to play us. They're going to make us make shots from the outside," said Mbakwe, who had seven of his nine points in the second half. "And we did a really good job knocking down the outside shots."

Mbakwe had a game-high nine rebounds, getting help from Elliott Eliason (six rebounds in 12 minutes) to help the Gophers win the battle on the boards 38-21. They also tightened their perimeter defense in the second half after getting beaten repeatedly by dribble penetration for layups and drive-and-kick three-pointers in the first half.

The Gophers will face Dayton in the title game Sunday on ESPN2. It's a chance, perhaps, for their closers to finish off a tournament championship.

"We get a lot of balance with our bench, and we keep pressure on people and wear people down," Smith said. "It catches up with teams late in the game."

  • related content

  • Gophers 76, Indiana St. 69: Game recap

    Friday November 25, 2011

    The reserve guard led all scorers with 17 points, which was also his highest total as a member of the Gophers. He added six rebounds and played huge minutes down...

  • OLD SPICE CLASSIC GOPHERS 76, INDIANA STATE 69

    Up next: 5:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Dayton

    TV: ESPN2 (1500ESPN)

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
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(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
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Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
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Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
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Texas-El Paso
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Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
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Miami-Florida
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Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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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 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 pm

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