Gophers get their swagger back in rout over Nebraska

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2013 - 6:59 AM

The Gophers' four-game losing streak ended, with help from Rodney Williams' 23 points and overmatched Nebraska.

view larger photos

  

Talk about good timing.

After the Gophers dropped to seventh place in the Big Ten and fell 11 spots in the Associated Press poll Monday, the level of concern with the team, both inside the program and out, had reached the boiling point.

Then Nebraska -- a sight for sore Gophers eyes -- came to town Tuesday night, and proved to be just what Minnesota needed to get back on track.

Relying heavily on their defensive pressure, the No. 23 Gophers took control early and overwhelmed the Cornhuskers 84-65 in front of an announced crowd of 12,672 at Williams Arena to break their four-game losing streak.

Senior forward Rodney Williams (a season-high 23 points, five rebounds), shaking off a two-game slump in which he'd scored a total of nine points, came within one point of his career high in his most aggressive game of the season. Andre Hollins (14 points) and Austin Hollins (13) joined the party with solid performances.

In the locker room afterward, it seemed a cloud had been lifted from the players' countenances, having put away -- at least temporarily -- the demons of the past two weeks.

"Oh yeah, there's definitely relief," Williams said. "I think we just needed this one win to get us going again."

That certainly might be true of the forward, who rebounded impressively from his worst game of the season, when he scored only two points and went 0-for-6 from the field in a 45-44 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday.

But within the first few seconds of Tuesday's game, it was evident Williams and the Gophers were determined to reverse their direction. Williams scored eight of the team's first nine points, dunking twice, and by halftime had compiled 19 points and four rebounds. Many possessions were run through the forward, but Williams also asserted himself by hitting the boards and getting to the free-throw line, where he went a surprising 6-for-6.

Gophers coach Tubby Smith said he decided before the game to run some plays for the struggling senior to try to get him going.

"I think when we spread out the floor a little bit, it opened it up for him," Austin Hollins said. "We were setting a lot more screens, we were moving a lot more on offense. When you get that movement, it makes the defense work, and I think [Williams] got open through that."

The Gophers (16-5, 4-4 Big Ten) had only six turnovers, a season low. Hot-shooting guard Ray Gallegos (20 points in the first half, 30 for the game) kept Nebraska within nine points (44-35) at halftime -- helping the Huskers shoot 63.6 percent in the first half.

Minnesota, meanwhile, was scoring in bunches: scoring off offensive rebounds, throwing down a barrage of dunks and taking advantage of Nebraska's inability to guard the pick-and-roll.

"You always need games where guys feel good about themselves," Smith said. "Lord knows we've had enough negative over the last two weeks, enough garbage."

Beating Nebraska (11-11, 2-7) was certainly a modest accomplishment, but after consecutive losses to ranked Indiana and Michigan at home and on the road against unranked Northwestern and Wisconsin, the Gophers seemed revived.

"This team, we're mature, we've all been through the wildfire the last couple years and we don't want that to happen again," senior forward Trevor Mbakwe said. "We still have a chance to be at the top of the conference and it's up to us, really."

  • (23) GOPHERS 84, NEBRASKA 65

    Up next: Noon Sunday vs. Iowa • Williams Arena • TV: Big Ten Network (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
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 pm
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
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: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close