Gophers top USC 71-57 to give Tubby win No. 500

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 9, 2012 - 1:52 AM

What is likely the coach's most talented team yet jumped to an early lead and avoided early turnovers.

hide

Rodney Williams Jr. dunks as Southern California's Jio Fontan (1) and Dewayne Dedmon (14).

Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

LOS ANGELES - In the midst of rolling through success after success this season, the Gophers handed the spotlight to their coach on Saturday.

But while Tubby Smith's 500th victory is a tribute to a long and successful career for himself, it only seems fitting that the milestone came with what has been dubbed his most talented team since taking over at Minnesota in 2007.

The Gophers didn't disappoint their skipper, again showing the depth and variety of talent that has taken them to No. 14 in the nation. While Minnesota got a strong performance from Rodney Williams, eight different players scored as the Gophers overcame USC 71-57 at Galen Center.

"You're so in the moment and it's a journey, so you don't even look at it," Smith said. "Somebody tells me, and that's when I recognize it's 500. But it's good to be with this group, to be a part of it because I think they're a great group of kids, a great group to coach. There's always a challenge with any group, but this group is a very committed group. They have good chemistry. So it's fun to coach."

The Gophers created separation early and held off a USC push in the second half, fueled by an excellent 20 minutes from Omar Oraby, who battled in the paint and finished with 15 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.

Behind Oraby's 7-for-9 shooting from the field, USC closed the gap to nine at 63-54 with 3:46 left. But the Gophers hit four free throws and got baskets from Andre Hollins and Joe Coleman to finish strong.

Williams led the Gophers (10-1) with 13 points and 11 rebounds (a season high and his first double-double of the year), but six others had six points or more for Minnesota, including Trevor Mbakwe, who added 10 off the bench. Andre Hollins finished 14 points and five rebounds.

"I didn't even know I had a double-double," Williams said. "Finally! It definitely felt good to come out here and see something go through the basket. Last game was definitely a tough one for me."

Smith has been through ups and downs in Minnesota -- bringing in some solid players (locally and out of state), getting two NCAA tournament bids and taking a depleted Gophers squad to the brink of the NIT championships a year ago.

But during that time, Smith has failed to win an NCAA tournament game and has been criticized for a flurry of transfers and for missing out on several program-changing recruits. Ultimately, the university has been patient and dished out a three-year contract extension this summer.

The Gophers leapt out to a 20-8 lead in the first eight minutes as the Trojans struggled to hit their shots with Minnesota defenders in the their faces. Meanwhile, the Gophers continued a positive shooting trend from a game ago (against South Dakota State), scoring in a variety of ways and getting three three-point shots from three different players in the first nine minutes.

Perhaps most positively, the Gophers didn't turn over the ball at all through the first 9:37. The Gophers finished with 15 turnovers.

But after padding their advantage to 27-12, the Gophers watched USC adjust and go on a 9-3 run. Minnesota got a bit sloppy, recording five miscues in just over five minutes as they struggled against the home team's 2-3 defensive zone, before they ultimately regrouped to get their coach to his milestone victory.

"They're a big team," Mbakwe said. "We're going to see a lot of that in the Big Ten, starting with Michigan State. They have some big guys and that's going to be big for us, kind of getting us used to that [in] rugged Big Ten games."

  • NO. 14 GOPHERS 71, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 57

    Up next: 8 p.m. Tuesday vs. North Dakota State • Williams Arena • TV: BTN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 99 4th Qtr 0:21
Utah 96
Sacramento 51 3rd Qtr 10:25
LA Lakers 51
Denver 36 2nd Qtr 6:24
Golden State 50
Portland 51 2nd Qtr 3:38
LA Clippers 36
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 3rd Prd 4:00
Colorado 6
Carolina 2 3rd Prd 19:21
Edmonton 2
Columbus 1 2nd Prd 6:54
Anaheim 3
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 23 3rd Qtr 6:54
Boise State 48
(6) Oregon 24 2nd Qtr 9:10
California 14
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 20 10:10
Calgary 15
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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.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 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: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close