Williams leads way in Gophers' latest rout

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 16, 2012 - 6:40 AM

The senior needed stitches after an elbow to the face but still did nice work on both ends of the floor vs. Tennessee State.

view larger photos

  

Right now, it's simply looking easy for Rodney Williams.

The senior forward is shooting 80 percent from the floor without ever really looking for a shot. Through the first three games of the Gophers men's basketball season, he has been the pillar of consistency and will be the steady force the team needs to be successful in the days ahead.

Aided by a balanced team effort that made his job look simple, Williams helped pick up the Gophers early and kept them going late as they dropped Tennessee State 72-43 at Williams Arena on Thursday.

Williams -- who had a team-high 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals -- lifted a Gophers team that looked flat at times by playing strong defense against Tennessee State standout Robert Covington and dishing some nifty passes to his teammates for scores.

Then, with the energy lacking late, a bandaged Williams came out flying to boost a healthy victory margin. Easy Peasy.

"For the most part, that's how it's going to be," said Williams, who received three stitches over his right eye after an elbow to the face. "We've got a lot of weapons out there, and those guys being so good, they're making easy shots for me. And I'm just taking what the defense is giving me."

The Gophers have now opened the season with three consecutive victories in the span of less than a week. But after first blowing past American and Toledo, the home team had a little more trouble with the sizeable and scrappy Tigers. Tennessee State (0-3) came and played zone defense against the Gophers, who struggled to penetrate and saw a 15-point lead fall to eight with four minutes to go before halftime.

But as the team clamped down on its interior defense -- getting nice efforts from Elliott Eliason and Trevor Mbakwe -- it was able to create some space with a couple of nice lobs from Williams to Mo Walker, and then push the lead with perimeter shooting.

With the "Hollinses" leading the charge, the Gophers hit six three-pointers (two from Austin, two from Andre), including three in the final 2 minutes, 41 seconds of the half to boost their lead to 39-21 at the intermission.

"I think that's what we've got to have every night," said Austin Hollins, who scored 12 points. "We've got to have the intensity at a high level on the defensive end, and then the offense will come."

In the second half, the Gophers pulled away for good, even with Williams sidelined. The Gophers got to the basket easier (though they still missed a couple of layups) and went to the free-throw line 10 times (although they missed six of those). They were able to hold Tennessee State without much production and force the Tigers to commit 20 turnovers (although they had 20 themselves).

When Williams returned with a bandage over his eye, three dunks pumped life into the crowd once more and gave the Gophers some new energy as they finished out strong.

"Usually our defense is ahead of the offense this time of the year anyway, but that's sort of what we hang our hat on because I think that gives us the best chance of winning a ballgame," coach Tubby Smith said.

  • GOPHERS 72, TENNESSEE STATE 43

    Up next: 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Richmond •

    Williams Arena • TV: BTN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close