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...


    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


Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Memphis 23 2nd Qtr 12:00
Indiana 19
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Portland 9:00 PM
San Antonio 9:00 PM
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 0 1st Prd 4:25
Columbus 0
Los Angeles 0 1st Prd 18:38
Detroit 0
Anaheim 7:30 PM
Nashville 8:00 PM
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 0 14:52
Ottawa 0
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


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 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 am
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question