This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Shooting still a weakness for 1-0 Gophers

Posted by: Amelia Rayno Updated: November 11, 2012 - 11:22 AM



In the Gophers’ two exhibition games and season opener, there was a substantial lot to be encouraged by -- yes, even excited about.

The Gophers maintained full-court pressure for an entire game against American. They showed a new energy. They rebounded. They turned over the ball substantially less. They showcased their roster-wide athleticism. Trevor Mbakwe made us all look kinda silly for worrying about his knee.

But there’s been one thing missing – as evident as ever on Friday.


So far, the Gophers haven’t been bullied into figuring out their mid-range and perimeter issues. Getting to the basket has been a piece of cake against inferior opponents Minnesota State, Southwest Baptist and American. And the Gophers have done well there, piling up in the paint and then holding their opponents defensively.

But they will not be playing cupcakes forever.

In fact, as you might recall, there’s a school named Duke on the docket in just four games and a stretch of three more tough opponents after that.

“Definitely shooting is a big focus,” Austin Hollins said. “We’ve been splitting into guards and big men and getting shots up. Before and after practice, we’ll get shots up. So that’s definitely a big focus, we’ve got to be able to knock down shots.”

But for three games they’ve struggled and so far shown no signs of breakout out of it. Hollins – one of the team’s best shooters – went 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point line on Friday before making his seventh attempt, late in the second half. Tubby Smith said afterward he thinks Hollins is moving his head some as he’s shooting, causing him to misfire.

“It definitely felt good to get that … one,” Hollins said afterward with a sheepish grin.

Said Rodney Williams: “We missed a couple of wide-open threes and I think that kind of shook up our confidence for a second, but once we got the ball inside and we got rolling on defense again, we were able to regain that confidence and pull it up.”

But what happens when teams won’t let them inside so easily and they don’t have a 30-point padding to work with?

The Gophers went 4-for-22 from the perimeter Friday, throwing up 13 attempts in the second half when American went into a zone defense and the Gophers were having a little more trouble getting inside.

“I don’t think it discouraged them at all,” Smith said sarcastically of the failure up until that point. We shot 22 threes … I’d like to see them shoot less or make more.”

Still, as he knows, the only thing that cures shooting ills is shooting drills (like that?) and the best cure for the Gophers may be to work it out as best they can early in the non-conference schedule.

“We need to shoot better and the only way we’re going shoot better is get out there and shoot it,” Smith said.


Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 2
Washington - LP: X. Cedeno 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 18
Baltimore 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Miami - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: R. Montero 7
San Diego 6 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 8
Colorado 2 FINAL
Oakland 11
LA Angels - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 5
Cleveland 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Texas 7
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 2
Toronto 7 FINAL
Houston 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Johnson 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Masterson 14
Boston 116 FINAL
Charlotte 104
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
Philadelphia 111
Houston 96 FINAL
Toronto 99
Milwaukee 88 FINAL
Atlanta 101
Sacramento 83 FINAL
Memphis 97
Utah 104 FINAL
Minnesota 84
Phoenix 78 4th Qtr 5:35
Portland 103
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Montreal 3
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Calgary 5 FINAL
Dallas 3
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Chicago 4
Edmonton 4 FINAL
Colorado 1
Buffalo 0 3rd Prd
Arizona 1
Loyola-Chicago 65
Dayton 70 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 91
(6) Tennessee 48 FINAL
(4) Maryland 58
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA Final Four?

Weekly Question