Mbakwe's 21 points, 12 rebounds muscle Gophers past Indiana

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 27, 2013 - 7:33 AM

When the crowd finally cleared, the court at Williams Arena was a carcass.

Scattered paper debris and one stray pompom remained from the fray that overtook the Minnesota players after the buzzer sounded. The scoreboard was stuck showing the Gophers on top of No. 1 Indiana 77-73 long after the players paraded down to the locker room -- as if the fans could forget without the night's heroes there.

A half-hour later, not much else remained on the floor. Led by an incredibly aggressive 21-point, 12-rebound performance by Trevor Mbakwe, the Gophers (19-9, 7-8 in the Big Ten) had taken their last scrap of guts, heart, grit and hope and left it all there for the screaming, surging crowd of 14,625 to snatch off the wooden tiles.

Less than 30 minutes earlier, Mbakwe, Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins were standing near center court when Hollins hit one of two free throws with three seconds left to seal the victory and open the floodgates.

"All the sudden, Trevor fell and I ended up falling, and then Andre Hollins ended up falling -- so we were just all in the middle of the court on the ground for a while," Williams said. "When it happens like that, you don't really mind. That was a special moment for us."

One they fought for from the opening tip to the final seconds.

It felt like a certain destiny then, despite Indiana's Christian Watford's pair of three-pointers to shrink the Gophers' lead to four with 43 seconds to go and Jordan Hulls' three-pointer with four seconds left to put the Hoosiers (24-4, 12-3) within a single possession.

Minnesota had been here before -- in its first Big Ten loss, before the season ran off the tracks, when Indiana held off the Gophers' second-half surge and put them away.

"It was more of a pride thing," said Hollins (16 points, three assists). "The last time we played them, we just gave them the game. We let them dog us out, and we know we have to hold home court. It's a certain toughness you have to have when you play at home -- it's a little moxie you have to have because it's your place."

That the Gophers had witnessed frustrated, booing faces with signs calling for their coach to be fired as the losses dragged out and just three wins came in 11 games only added to the motivation.

Finally, the Gophers got angry, taking it out by totaling 44 rebounds to Indiana's 30, with an all-out attack in the paint, stellar defense on the Hoosiers' Cody Zeller (nine points, seven rebounds) and a perpetual intensity.

Minnesota led by six early and rebounded from a 34-30 deficit at the half by striking quickly in the second. Mbakwe, as he did in the first half, propelled his team with two quick baskets. When the Gophers trailed by seven with 13:12 left, Elliott Eliason's scoring led them back to a tie, with Hollins snapping out of a two-point first half to put Minnesota ahead.

Soon, the crowd was creeping closer, salivating for the chance.

"That's something -- you watch it on TV all the time and you always wish for it, and it finally happened," said Williams, who also got a hug and a kiss from his daughter amid the fray.

The arena guards could hold the fans back only so long.

So just before Williams hit the ground, he smiled and took it in.

Sports home page photo of Williams Arena crowd courtesy of Nadine Babu

  • GOPHERS 77, INDIANA 73 Next: 2 p.m. Saturday vs. Penn State • Williams Arena • BTN, 1500-AM

    GOPHERS 77, INDIANA 73
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Denver 7:00 PM
Memphis
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:30 PM
Toronto
Dallas 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Detroit 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Columbus 6:30 PM
Florida
Nashville 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 24 2nd Half 17:15
Providence 42
Michigan State 5:00 PM
Rutgers
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Army
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Detroit
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Furman
Saint Louis 6:00 PM
George Mason
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
High Point 6:00 PM
Liberty
Central Conn St 6:00 PM
Long Island
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Dayton 6:00 PM
Massachusetts
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Maryland 6:00 PM
Ohio State
FIU 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fair-Dickinson 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bryant 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Stetson
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Towson
Western Carolina 6:00 PM
Va Military
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Wagner
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
North Florida
Appalachian St 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Holy Cross 6:30 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Eastern Ill 6:30 PM
UT Martin
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Belmont
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Cincinnati
Rider 7:00 PM
Saint Peters
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Marshall 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Tenn Tech 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Middle Tennessee 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Weber State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Denver 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Louisiana 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 4:00 PM
Georgia Southern
Niagara 4:00 PM
Saint Peters
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
FIU
Southern Miss 5:00 PM
Marshall
Georgia State 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 5:15 PM
Troy
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
(17) Duke
(6) Tennessee 6:00 PM
(10) Kentucky
(24) Oklahoma 6:00 PM
(14) Texas
Nebraska Omaha 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
UC-Riverside 6:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Army 6:00 PM
Boston U
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Nicholls
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Towson 6:00 PM
Delaware
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Northeastern
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Clemson 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
(23) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(8) Louisville
Missouri 6:00 PM
Florida
Iona 6:00 PM
Fairfield
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Marist
NC State 6:00 PM
Virginia
(4) Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(22) Rutgers 6:00 PM
Purdue
(5) Maryland 6:00 PM
Michigan
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Florida 6:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Stetson 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Loyola-Maryland 6:05 PM
Holy Cross
Lamar 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Fla Gulf Coast 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
(18) Miss State
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
UAB
Auburn 7:00 PM
Arkansas
Grand Canyon 7:00 PM
UMKC
Illinois 7:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
(20) Iowa 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Green Bay 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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 of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close