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.


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

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

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...


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

    TV: ESPN2 (1500ESPN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 2
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 4 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Samardzija 8
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 5 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 1
Chicago 27 FINAL
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 9/22/14 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 5
Arizona 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) 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
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
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.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm
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