Hollins sends U into NIT final

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 28, 2012 - 12:58 AM

 The freshman scored five points in OT to beat Washington and send the U into the NIT final.

view larger photos

  

NEW YORK - There is an arc to the learning curve, one that rises steeply and quickly from the flatline; one that builds in a blink.

The moment can happen suddenly, sometimes without warning, and it can change everything.

For a young Gophers team -- one that had played a full season marked mostly by inexperience and underachievement -- that moment came March 3. Being the last game of the regular season, it was too late to earn the team their No. 1 goal -- a NCAA bid.

But in the NIT, the Gophers have made good on a second chance at postseason life. The arc is rising steeply and quickly, and after a 68-67 overtime victory over Washington on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, it brought the Gophers to a new peak: an NIT championship game.

"It's a great feeling to know that we're playing postseason, in some type of championship," sophomore guard Austin Hollins said. "All the hard work that we put in, the offseason, preseason, up to this point -- it's starting to pay off."

Freshman guard Andre Hollins (a team-high 20 points and five assists) scored five points in overtime and the Gophers overcame a rocky second-half and hung on in nail-biting fashion to advance to the title game. The sixth-seeded Gophers (23-14) will face No. 3 seed Stanford (25-11) at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Minnesota had a double-digit lead at halftime at 38-26, but midway through the second half, Washington started to heat up.

"I think they just kind of woke up," said Gophers junior forward Rodney Williams, who had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. "We just didn't match their intensity the whole second half like we should have."

After turning the ball over six times in the first half, the Gophers were forced into 13 in the second, and Washington grabbed the momentum. With 22.8 seconds remaining, the Huskies (24-11) cut the lead to two on a pair of Abdul Gaddy free throws, but the Gophers had the ball, needing only to hold on for the victory.

They couldn't quite do that. Joe Coleman tossed a less-than-ideal pass to Andre Hollins, who -- with Washington guard Tony Wroten holding the back of his jersey -- bobbled it out of reach and into the hands of C.J. Wilcox, who scooped it up and scored the tying layup. After one more shot for each team fell short, the Gophers went to their sixth overtime of the year.

"We drew up a play to get the ball in, to hit me running," Andre Hollins said. "Joe got the ball and he shuffled it. It came a little fast. I should have caught it and I should have just ate it up but it slipped out."

But as they've struggled to do so many times this year, the Gophers were able to hold on for the victory. They won their first three games of the NIT -- all on the road against higher seeds -- before scraping by Tuesday.

For his part, Hollins has showed serious progress in the postseason and has quickly transformed into one of the team's leaders, smoothly guiding a more fluid offense while scoring in buckets. The freshman is averaging over 18 points a game in the past eight after breaking double digits only twice during the Big Ten schedule.

Tuesday, he showed it again, hitting four free throws in the final 98 seconds of regulation and guiding the team through overtime for the victory.

"I'm just proud of their perseverance and their ability to overcome," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. "It's really just amazing, I've been really amazed at how we've stepped up and just played."

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Gophers-Washington

    Tuesday March 27, 2012

  • Brown, Stanford stop UMass to reach NIT final

    Tuesday March 27, 2012

    NEW YORK - With his Stanford teammates struggling and the lead slipping away, Anthony Brown shot the ball with no hesitation.

  • Gophers-Washington game recap

    Wednesday March 28, 2012

    GAME RECAPMVPAndre Hollins, GophersThe freshman guard further displayed his go-to-guy mentality by scoring five of his team-high 20 points in...

  • Washington's Desmond Simmons, below, and Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1) fight for a loose ball.

  • Minnesota's Rodney Williams (33) and Austin Hollins (20) celebrate after Williams scored.

  • Washington's Tony Wroten (14) drives past Minnesota's Elliott Eliason.

  • NIT SEMIFINAL GOPHERS 68, WASHINGTON 67 (OT)

    Championship: Gophers vs. Stanford • 6 p.m. Thursday, Madison Square Garden, New York • TV: ESPN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Oakland 2
Boston - B. Workman 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Washington - G. Gonzalez 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Hand
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Arizona - V. Nuno 7:40 PM
Colorado - Y. Flande
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 8:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
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
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 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
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

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

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close