Gophers' Mathieu guards against frustration

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2014 - 8:28 AM

Meeting Big Ten challenges is a taller order for Gophers guard.

hide

FILE -- Gophers DeAndre Mathieu stole the ball away from TAMCC's Jeff Beverly during the first half at Williams Arena in Minneapolis Saturday, December 28, 2013.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Dml - Star Tribune Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

DeAndre Mathieu had just missed his second layup of the game, and the frustration was obvious.

The Gophers’ 5-9 point guard wasn’t finding the same openings at the hoop Wednesday against Penn State that he had found regularly through the nonconference schedule. He wasn’t getting the same foul calls. And without that same efficiency, Mathieu — shaking his head after each missed opportunity — simply looked lost during the first half.

He can’t afford that look on Saturday.

One game after taking on dynamic Penn State point guard Tim Frazier, Mathieu — who rallied with a strong second half against Penn State — will have his hands full Saturday with Michigan State floor general Keith Appling, a 6-1 senior who had 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a big win over Ohio State on Tuesday. The do-it-all guard seems to have taken his game — and his team — to the next level this season. Through 15 games, Appling, who has always been a defensive force, is averaging 15.9 points to go with 4.7 assists.

Gophers coach Richard Pitino said he has to have a big game from Mathieu, a former junior college player who has worked his way from a bench warmer at Morehead State to starting point guard on a Big Ten team.

“DeAndre is certainly going to have his hands full,” Pitino said Friday. “I think he’s excited about the opportunity. He’s the type of kid who’s got a big chip on his shoulder, and we’ve got to make sure he understands that it’s not about him proving he’s one of the best point guards in the conference but just sticking to the game plan.”

Appling might play a bigger role than normal for the Spartans, because Adreian Payne (sore foot) and Travis Trice (flu) are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game.

“What he’s done is embraced what he is — a great defender who runs a team, and that’s what he does,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo told CBSDetroit. “He’s improved his shooting each year, but he’s not a kid that’s going to come out and be trying to drain any threes or anything like that. … He plays within himself, and I think he tries to be nobody but what he is. That’s a pretty good start in this day and age.”

Mathieu is still adjusting to life at the highest level of college basketball. But the undersized guard also doesn’t shy away from the challenges.

“I’m trying to go out every night and go against some of the best point guards in the country and try to prove that I belong here,” Mathieu said. “That I’m good enough to play in the Big Ten.”

In the Gophers’ opener against Michigan, Mathieu committed a series of damaging turnovers (he had five overall), including two in the final 1:49. But in the two games since, Mathieu has turned the ball over just three times. Against Purdue, he went to the bench with two fouls less than six 5 minutes into the first half but returned smarter and more contained in the second, finishing with 11 points and four assists.

And after a rough first half against Penn State, Mathieu played the role of hero in the second, lifting the Gophers with 14 second-half points and four rebounds, and getting the critical steal with 43 seconds left, swiping the ball from John Johnson at midcourt and racing in for a layup.

“I was really tough on DeAndre at halftime,” Pitino said. “I just thought he wasn’t playing well, and it totally affected his attitude on the court, his body language. I jumped him pretty good at halftime, and he responded and was great in the second half.”

Mathieu has emerged as a major piece of Pitino’s new up-tempo offense and pressure defense. Mathieu knows just what’s expected of him: Avoid the sort of first half he had against Penn State, and the finish he had against Michigan.

“I’ve just got to make better decisions, think better,” Mathieu said. “No one wants to make those mistakes [like those against Michigan]. They were crucial mistakes, though, and it really hurt so I kind of beat myself up for it. But I’ll get better.”

  • related content

  • Next four games for Gophers: Scary, scarier and silver linings

    Friday January 10, 2014

    Starting with Saturday's game at Michigan State, the Gophers won't have a tougher stretch all year than this meat grinder. Can they survive it?

  • Gameday preview: Gophers basketball at Michigan State

    Friday January 10, 2014

    gophers gameday1:15 p.m. vs. michigan state • Breslin center • btn, 1500-amGophers at a glance: Even if they have displayed...

  • Gophers guard DeAndre Mathieu has taken on Big Ten competition confidently this season, as he did against Michigan’s Caris LeVert.

  • gophers men

    1:15 p.m. today at (5) Michigan State

    TV:  Big Ten Network (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Baltimore 0
Philadelphia 1 Top 6th Inning
NY Mets 0
Miami 3 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 0
Boston 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Cleveland 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit 5 Top 5th Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Texas 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Houston 0
Colorado 0 Top 2nd Inning
Arizona 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 1st Inning
St. Louis 0
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 4th Qtr 4:45
(6) Auburn 38
(16) Clemson 21 4th Qtr 14:14
(12) Georgia 24
Liberty 22 3rd Qtr 5:55
(23) North Carolina 27
Ohio U 14 4th Qtr 11:01
Kent State 7
Louisiana Tech 0 2nd Qtr 2:19
(4) Oklahoma 31
Stephen F Austin 7 2nd Qtr 1:25
(20) Kansas State 28
Fresno State 0 2nd Qtr 10:56
(15) USC 24
Southern Miss 0 2nd Qtr 12:22
Miss State 14
Texas-El Paso 13 1st Qtr 4:25
New Mexico 7
North Texas 0 1st Qtr 4:06
Texas 7
(1) Florida State 10 1st Qtr 7:21
Oklahoma State 0
Idaho 0 Delayed
Florida 0
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
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
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) 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
(14) 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
(16) 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
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) 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
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) 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
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) 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
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) 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
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 2nd Half
Montreal 1
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
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
Chicago 48 3rd Qtr 0:55
Indiana 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close