No. 8 Syracuse gets best of Gophers in Maui Invitational opener

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 26, 2013 - 6:34 AM

Even with a frontcourt further thinned by foul trouble, the Gophers battled and managed to put a scare into No. 8 Syracuse.

view larger photos


– As the seconds waned Monday, the tension of the Gophers’ lingering hope was almost audible among the hefty contingent of Minnesota fans in the Lahaina Civic Center.

Hamstrung by a short bench and undersized frontcourt and further debilitated by foul trouble, the Gophers never were supposed to be close, much less this close, to upsetting No. 8 Syracuse — the top-ranked team in the Maui Invitational — in the opening round. Yet that’s where they found themselves, down by two points with two minutes remaining.

The Gophers faithful watched as Austin Hollins blocked Tyler Ennis’ shot at the rim to get the ball back with 1 minute, 45 seconds to go.

But Gophers guard Malik Smith — hot all day from three-point range — excitedly threw away the gift. C.J. Fair (16 points, 10 rebounds) scored on the ensuing Syracuse possession and the Orange hit six free throws down the stretch to seal the 75-67 victory.

The Gophers will play Arkansas at 1 p.m. CST on Tuesday.

“When you’re building a program and you’re at the early, early stages, you want to show you’re going to compete on every single possession,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “Our guys did that tonight. Tough game to be undermanned. … We just had to make it work.”

The Gophers showed impressive scrappiness all game despite their already thin frontcourt being furthered hampered by foul calls. Center Mo Walker was out serving the final game of his six-game suspension and Joey King (nine points, five rebounds) and Elliott Eliason (six points, nine rebounds) each got into foul trouble early in the second half. Eliason picked up his fourth foul with 10:49 remaining and King collected his fourth less than two minutes later, stifling the interior defense that had kept Minnesota afloat.

“We tried to drive at the big guy [Eliason],” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We wanted to get him in foul trouble, and when he was out, we made a 10-point run. He’s a big difference-maker when he’s [in] there.”

Even so, Minnesota was able to recover from two big deficits after trailing 39-36 at halftime. After Syracuse opened a 14-point lead at 52-38 with 15:54 left in the second half, Eliason returned from sitting after his third foul, and Smith — who scored 16 points, with four three-pointers — hit a pair of key threes that cut the Orange lead to 56-52 with 11:39 to play.

Syracuse stretched the advantage back to 63-56 before King — who brushed off a hard foul in the paint which seemed to aggravate his fractured jaw — scored two big baskets and Andre Hollins hit a pair of free throws to allow the Gophers to creep within 67-65 with 2:13 remaining.

The Gophers — who connected on nine of 22 three-pointers, including six in the first half — looked initially overwhelmed when Syracuse broke open a 12-2 lead. But from there, Minnesota instigated a 15-2 run, holding the Orange scoreless for more than five minutes.

The Gophers, effectively working the Syracuse 2-3 zone with high-low passes and three-point shots, took a 17-14 advantage on an Andre Hollins midrange jump shot. Syracuse shot only 38.2 percent from the field in the first half before rebounding to connect on 50 percent of its shots in the second.

“We prepared well for it,” Andre Hollins said of the zone. “We had some lapses where the game got stagnant and I think we handled them well. It came to just a few plays. We knew we had that game.”

  • related content

  • Postgame: Gophers drop a close one to No. 8 Syracuse

    Monday November 25, 2013

    The Gophers hung with the Orange all day despite a thin frontcourt that dealt with lots of foul trouble -- but in the end was not able to make the...

  • Suspension done, Walker will rejoin Gophers for today's game

    Tuesday November 26, 2013

    Mo Walker will return for Tuesday’s game against Arkansas after being suspended for six contests for violating university policy.

  • Gophers-Arkansas game preview

    Tuesday November 26, 2013

    U men gameday1 p.m. vs. Arkansas, ESPN2, 1500-AMGophers at a glance: The Gophers (5-1) lost their opening game in Maui...

  • Maui Invitational results and schedule

    Tuesday November 26, 2013

    MAUI RESULTS AND SCHEDULEMondayNo. 8 Syracuse 75, Gophers 67California 85, Arkansas 77No. 18 Baylor 93, Chaminade 77No. 11 Gonzaga vs....

  • Gophers-Syracuse game recap

    Monday November 25, 2013

    Game recapImpact playerC.J. Fair, SyracuseThe senior power forward abused the thin Gophers frontcourt with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and...

  • Minnesota center Elliott Eliason (55) attempts to block a shot by Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis (11).

  • maui invitational No. 8 syracuse 75, gophers 67

    Up next: 1 p.m. today vs. Arkansas • TV: ESPN2 (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 2:40 PM
Arizona - A. Chafin
Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano
Toronto - J. Happ 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Cincinnati - D. Corcino 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Detroit - D. Price 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 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.
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




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question