From ugly to exhilarating, Gophers get the win over Northwestern

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 7, 2013 - 7:06 AM

After the U's 17-point first half, its athleticism and Austin Hollins' hot streak woke up the crowd.

view larger photos

  

The end of Sunday night's game likely came none too soon for Austin Hollins -- after all, if coach Tubby Smith's words are to be believed, the junior's jersey was probably saturated long before the final buzzer sounded in the Gophers' 69-51 victory over Northwestern.

He certainly worked hard enough, helping author an impressive Gophers turnaround from an ugly start and a diversion from their preferred style of play. Hollins hit five consecutive three-pointers over a span of less than 3 1/2 minutes, earning a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 12,750 at Williams Arena. He effectively forced the grinding pace to flip in the Gophers' favor, igniting a 22-5 run in the process.

All as his gold jersey turned a darker shade of bronze.

"When we come to practice, he usually has to change his shirt two or three times in practice," Smith said. "He's just that hard a worker -- either that or he sweats a lot."

It took some time for the No. 9 Gophers (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten) to wake up, but when they did, they showcased once more just how tough they can be when they are clicking.

In that, Hollins was critical.

After a more-than-sluggish first half that ended with the Gophers ahead only 17-14, the home team was clinging to a two-point lead early in the second half.

But that's when the Gophers finally broke free of the mold Northwestern (9-5, 0-2) had forced upon them. First, they created some separation with three trips to the line interrupted only by a vicious Trevor Mbakwe block and dunk on the other end. With the Gophers controlling the pace, Hollins got hot, exploding with his impressive three-point barrage to complete the run that put the game out of reach. By the time he was done, he had stretched a nine-point lead to 20.

"I was just feeling it, so I wanted to put it up there," said a grinning Hollins, who finished with 19 points. "We didn't get a lot of shots up in the first half and the ones we did get up, we weren't making them. So it was important for us to come out strong and shoot the ball because that's what we do."

The Gophers -- who haven't started Big Ten play 2-0 since the 2009-10 season -- got out to a poor start, making only 33.3 percent of their shots from the field and struggling to get into their offense against Northwestern's 1-3-1 zone.

The Wildcats weren't any prettier, shooting 27.8 percent, but they controlled the game early by using long, drawn-out possessions to dictate the tempo and wear down the Gophers on defense.

Rodney Williams was the team's main spark in the first half, but even the senior forward notching his 1,000th career point on a layup 8:31 in didn't get the Gophers motivated to turn the game around.

"That's tough," Mbakwe said. "You play good defense for 30 seconds, you give up the offensive rebound and you have to play defense for another 30 seconds and they kind of take the air out of the ball."

In desperate need of a change and with starting point guard Andre Hollins having picked up a third foul, Smith called upon backup Maverick Ahanmisi to help push the ball, and with the team getting out better in transition, Austin Hollins started getting opportunities.

"When he's making shots like that, we're a different team," Smith said. "If he can continue to make shots like that, even when Andre Hollins wasn't in the game, that was huge, that was huge for us."

  • related content

  • Postgame: Breaking out of sluggish pace was a good test for Gophers

    Sunday January 6, 2013

    They will play at least three other games like this in the Big Ten.

  • Gophers-Northwestern game recap

    Monday January 7, 2013

    Are you kidding? The junior guard's five consecutive three-pointers put the game out of Northwestern's reach. Hollins finished with a game-high 19 points and received a standing ovation as he...

  • Andre Hollins, left, celebrated with teammate Austin Hollins after Austin hit a three-point shot.

  • Minnesota Gophers vs. Northwestern basketball. Gophers Andre Ingram (3...

  • (9) GOPHERS 69, NORTHWESTERN 51

    Up next: 8 p.m. Wednesday at (11) Illinois • TV: Big Ten Network (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
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
Indiana 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Detroit
Dallas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Vancouver 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Chicago 7:00 PM
Nashville
Arizona 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Carolina 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Columbus 9:30 PM
San Jose
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
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
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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
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: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close