This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Gophers postgame: A lot went right and Andre Hollins stepped up as the leader Minnesota needs

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players, The Big Dance Updated: March 23, 2013 - 1:42 AM

Read my full take on tonight's win here.

For weeks, Gophers coach Tubby Smith has been saying that this Gophers team lacks a leader.

“I mean, I’m sure he’s there, but I’d like to see him surface,” the coach said on Tuesday.

On Friday, he stepped up. Again.

Say hello to the Andre Hollins you remember from last year.

The point guard hit five threes against UCLA (a Gophers tournament record), performed in clutch moments and led Minnesota with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists to just one turnover.

It was exactly the recipe the Gophers needed for a momentous 83-63 win over UCLA – the first Minnesota win in the Big Dance since 1997, and the first non-vacated win since 1990 – and a ticket to the second round, when they will play 3-seed Florida at 5:10 on Sunday on TNT.

“Growing up as a little kid, you dream of these moments,” Hollins said.

Perhaps the most impressive thing was that when UCLA made two small comebacks -- which could have quickly gotten out of hand -- Minnesota responded by puttings its foot on the Bruins' throats. First came Hollins with his 3-pointers and the 10-3 run that was all his own, and then Joe Coleman helped nail the coffin, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the last 8:37.

It’s amazing what this team can do if its hitting shots. But Hollins’ shooting wasn’t the only thing that went well for the Gophers on Friday.

They played a zone effectively – players said they hadn’t practiced the zone much, but that they stuck with it when it was so effective (Smith said they had planned to use the zone a lot all along) and used the press well. They limited turnovers (11), particularly in the first half (3). They scored 20 points off UCLA turnovers and crushed the opponent in the paint, 34-24. And they ran the Bruins, who had a very thin bench to start, out of the building.

All of that combined to provide a blowout win despite the fact that the Gophers didn’t really do the one thing they were expected to be good at – killing the Bruins on the boards – all that well (the Gophers had 36 rebounds to UCLA’s 42).

Now, perhaps the biggest challenge will be for the Gophers to keep the intensity they showed on Friday, rather than suffering a letdown as they have so many times this year -- and for Andre Hollins to keep his hot touch and proclivity to lead.

Other notes on tonight’s victory:

  • This marked the Gophers’ first NCAA tournament game since 1997, and it’s first non-vacated tourney win since 1990. The 20-point win was also the largest margin of victory for Minnesota in a non-vacated tournament game.
  • Besides Andre Hollins’ record, Austin Hollins set a career high in assists (7).
  • Twas an ugly start. The Gophers and UCLA combined to go 0-12 from the field before any field goal was hit. Minnesota got on the board first with a layup from Elliott Eliason after five minutes and 20 seconds.
  • Shabazz Muhammad had 20 points in the first half for UCLA, but went 0-for-7 from the field in the first, allowing the Gophers to create a 10-point lead at halftime. The LA Times published a story on Friday on Muhammad, finding that the UCLA star was actually 20, not 19. Said Muhammad: “It is hard to play in the NCAA tournament. I think we had a lot of jitters coming out but all in all, I think they deserved to win. They played better basketball than us.”
  • Smith said he wanted to use a lot of guys from the start. He played 11 Gophers six minutes into the game. Yesterday, he said he wasn’t sure how he wanted to use a bench that has been up and down. But the reserves’ ability to give valuable minutes was huge in keeping Minnesota’s legs fresh with all the pressing and running – and wearing UCLA out on the other end. Quite effective.
  • Smith said he and his staff hadn’t done much pre-work for Florida yet. “I haven’t watched them play” (other than Friday), Smith said. He said the assistants had watched some film already.


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
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Gophers Football 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 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




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