Gophers' little guys stand tall in 71-61 victory over Florida State

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2013 - 6:28 AM

The undersized Gophers made the plays down the stretch for a big victory over the bigger Seminoles.

view larger photos


The ball in his hands, driving toward the hoop, DeAndre Mathieu looked like a shrub among the redwoods, almost lost beneath Florida State’s towering frontcourt hungrily waiting for him under the basket.

None of that seemed to matter. With quickness that’s at times hard to track, Mathieu dodged the trees and threw the ball up against the backboard, dropping it in boosting the Gophers’ lead to six with 1 minute, 48 seconds to play. The shot helped lift them — on Tuesday night the little team that could — to a 71-61 victory, their biggest of the young season.

“I got my shot blocked all night and I was getting pretty tired of that,” Mathieu said. “[I just wanted to] get it as far away from his hand as possible, as far off the backboard as possible. I knew if I got it off the backboard it was going in.”

In an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game in which the Gophers were outsized at almost every position, they attacked Florida State with strong guard play, hitting a cascade of transition baskets and stifling the Seminoles defensively with full-court pressure and a 2-3 zone, while keeping 7-footers Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo in check.

Andre Hollins led the Gophers with 21 points and four assists, while Austin Hollins added 16 points and five rebounds.

Between the two teams, 52 fouls were called, slowing the pace to a tortoise’s crawl. But the fast-paced Gophers (7-2) were able to overcome offensive deficiencies — they shot just 34 percent from the floor — with strong defense, keeping the Seminoles off-balance throughout.

The Gophers finished the game without their two tallest players, Mo Walker (6-10) and Elliott Eliason (6-11), who both fouled out. But they got to the free-throw line eight times in the final 73 seconds, making five to seal the victory.

“We just kept each other’s heads up and kept telling each other to keep playing hard,” Austin Hollins said of the bevy of calls.

The Gophers had a 10-point lead with 10 minutes left, but repeated trips to the foul line along with a few bruising inside plays had Florida State (5-3) within 60-56 with 4:42 to play.

But the Seminoles were unable to pull closer. The Gophers made 10 of 14 free throws in the last 5:02, while Florida State went only 4-for-9.

“We controlled the game,” Andre Hollins said. “We don’t let size count us out … We just have to compete — that’s our style of basketball. Just being tough.”

After a first half in which the Gophers stayed two steps ahead of Florida State, they came out in the second full of fire. Maverick Ahanmisi left early in the half after losing most of a tooth when his head was slammed to the ground as he dived for a loose ball.

A six-point lead at the break quickly turned into a 15-point differential after a 10-1 run featuring three-point plays from Mathieu and Oto Osenieks. It was capped by a blistering alley oop from Mathieu to Austin Hollins that had Williams Arena rocking.

“I said if you guys don’t come out more aggressive than you have in the past, this is a great team, a great coach, they’ll jump you,” coach Richard Pitino said.

The Gophers bounced out to a 23-12 lead and held a 33-27 advantage at halftime after a 13-point first half from Andre Hollins, who hadn’t finished with more than 14 in his past four games. They shot 50 percent from three-point range in the first half, including a 3-for-4 showing for Hollins.


  • Acc-Big TEN Challenge

    Gophers 71, Florida State 61 Up next: 2 p.m. Saturday vs. New Orleans • Williams Arena

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Houston 0 1st Qtr 10:58
Pittsburgh 0
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 67 3rd Qtr 3:30
Cleveland 76
New Orleans 64 3rd Qtr 3:05
Washington 44
Milwaukee 56 2nd Qtr 1:00
New York 55
Philadelphia 41 2nd Qtr 1:25
Brooklyn 46
Charlotte 43 3rd Qtr
Atlanta 58
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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.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 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