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.

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Gophers postgame: after Montana win, the backcourt is looking sharp

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players, Richard Pitino Updated: November 12, 2013 - 11:53 PM

Coming into the season, there were a lot of questionmarks surrounding the frontcourt. Even now, though the crew has been treading water, and doing some good things in the absences of suspended center Mo Walker, there are still many holes.

The backcourt is a different story.

And after Tuesday night's 84-58 win over Montana, the trio of guards is looking better than ever.

Andre Hollins continued his strong start to the season with 24 points, three rebounds and three assists, looking more than comfortable in his shifted role as shooting guard. Austin Hollins had a key second-half performance, recording the first double-double of his career with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. And Deandre Mathieu had another stellar start, collecting five assists to two turnovers while scoring 15 points.

The chemistry there, seems to be operating on all cylinders. As Mathieu showed against Montana, he's more than willing to take some shots if he's able to get the ball in transition and drive to the basket. But when his shot is taken away or the Gophers are forced to play half-court offense, he's more than comfortable kicking it to Austin Hollins or Andre Hollins, the latter of which has seamlessly transitioned into a shooting guard role.

The Gophers don't just want to be good, though. Those three players have already discussed much more elite goals.

"We talked to each other before the game," Mathieu said. "We want to be the best backcourt in the couIt’s just a matter of pursuing the ball. When it goes up – you might not get it when you’re crashing the boards but when you’re in there, sometimes you get that lucky bounce and it just falls your way, but if you don’t crash the boards, you’re don’t get that opportunity.try or at least mentioned with the best backcourts in the country."

With the frontcourt full of holes and lacking in size, the emphasis is on the backcourt more than ever. Austin Hollins did his part to help out the big men on Tuesday, taking some time at the power forward spot in a four-guard lineup that has been used here and there -- and more importantly, grabbing all of the rebounds that he did.

"It’s just a matter of pursuing the ball," he said. "When it goes up – you might not get it when you’re crashing the boards but when you’re in there, sometimes you get that lucky bounce and it just falls your way, but if you don’t crash the boards, you’re don’t get that opportunity."

Other notes on tonight's game:

  • The Gophers had their worst half of shooting of the year in the first, when they managed just 38.2 percent from the field. But they rallied in the second, posting a 51.9 percentage. Even more notably, Minnesota sank 11 three-pointers. "I think our fours [power forwards] can shoot the ball," coach Richard Pitino said. "I think our ones, twos and threes [point guards, shooting guards, small forwards]. I don’t think there is any guy on the team that can’t shoot the ball. Now certainly, you’re not going to make 11 threes, but I do believe we are a very good shooting team."
  • Tuesday, perhaps marked the first time that the Gophers seemed to really embody the rebounding-by-committee approach that Pitino has preached. Nine players had at least two rebounds and five had three or more. Overall, Minnesota out-rebounded Montana, 45-29.
  • The Gophers did the little things well on Tuesday. They had 14 assists to eight turnovers, played really strong defense, had seven blocked shots and nine steals.
  • Two games into the season, Oto Osenieks has already doubled his three-pointer output from a year ago, when he went just 2-for-26 from the distance. He had two threes on Tuesday and finished with nine points and six rebounds overall.
  • Wally Ellenson got into the game in the first half and got a few minutes in the second as well. The wing hadn't played at all in the season opener due to a disagreement with Pitino, according to the family. Ellenson hit a three-pointer for his first points of the year, and also grabbed two rebounds.

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Cincinnati 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Baltimore 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco 12 Top 9th Inning
Colorado 7
Seattle 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Oakland 0
Washington 0 Top 7th Inning
Los Angeles 4
Arizona 1 Top 8th Inning
San Diego 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
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
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
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

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