Captain Eliason leads the way for Gophers in upset over No. 11 Ohio State

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2014 - 7:38 AM

Center Elliott Eliason supplied 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Gophers knocked off No. 11 Ohio State.

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When the Gophers needed a leader Thursday night against No. 11 Ohio State, their newest player of that distinction stepped up in a huge way and delivered Minnesota the signature victory it had been seeking.

No, it wasn’t just guards Andre Hollins or Austin Hollins, who combined to go 5-for-11 from the field, but came up big in the final three minutes. Andre hit a clutch three-pointer, with Austin following with a layup in transition to give the Gophers their first double-digit lead.

But for the majority of the contest, it was junior center Elliott Eliason — whom coach Richard Pitino named the team’s fourth captain the day before — who took the reins early, just as he has done so many times this season.

With Minnesota leading 48-45 with 5 minutes, 15 seconds remaining, Eliason took the ball inside for a layup — the key to the Gophers’ success all night long — to give them the separation they needed in a 63-53 victory over the Buckeyes.

“[Eliason is] playing very confident,” Pitino said. “Maybe I’ll name someone [else a] captain — we’ll have the most captains in the country. He’s playing well, he deserves it. He has gotten so much better and he deserves all the credit because he just works so hard.”

The victory for the Gophers (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten) — their first over a ranked opponent this season — represents something of a breakthrough after struggling to close out games in losses against Michigan and Michigan State and victories over Purdue and Penn State. For the Buckeyes (15-3, 2-3), it was their third consecutive loss after 15 victories in a row to start the season.

“I can’t wait to check my Twitter,” said junior guard DeAndre Mathieu, who had 13 points, four rebounds and five assists. “I know they’re going crazy. Don’t tell Coach Pitino I said that, but I can’t wait to check my Twitter.”

Eliason finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season.

Ohio State — a traditionally stingy opponent with the second-ranked defense in the nation — nearly shut down the perimeter, making inside play even more valuable. Eliason went to work as did Mo Walker, who scored two critical baskets in the second half. The Gophers held a 38-20 advantage in points in the paint.

“We knew if we didn’t score inside it was going to be a long night,” Eliason said. “We had to have that interior presence, get it inside-out to be able to compete tonight.”

Minnesota went 1-for-7 from three-point range in a sloppy first half from both teams, and hit only 21.4 percent of their attempts for the game from that distance while coughing up 18 turnovers. But the Gophers were able to stay neck-and-neck with Ohio State — the teams were tied at 29 at the half — by holding the Buckeyes to only 35.3 percent shooting.

With 13:41 remaining in the game, Pitino picked up his first technical at Minnesota after tossing his jacket in response to a double foul call on Oto Osenieks and the Buckeyes’ LaQuinton Ross (a game-high 22 points and five rebounds) and the Gophers trailed 39-38. Then Walker, in the game for Eliason, instigated an 8-0 run with two layups that helped the Gophers to a 46-39 lead.

The Buckeyes were able to bring it back within three with 5:44 left, but the Gophers got big shots from the Hollinses and hit six free throws in the final 1:36 to seal the victory.

“We finally found a way this time to win,” Pitino said.

  • Up next: Noon Sunday at No. 14 Iowa • TV: Big Ten Network (1500-AM)

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New Orleans 7:25 PM
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Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
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Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:00 PM
Orlando
Detroit 7:00 PM
Minnesota
New York 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Utah 7:30 PM
Dallas
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Chicago 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Arizona 6:30 PM
Florida
San Jose 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Anaheim 7:00 PM
St. Louis
NY Islanders 8:00 PM
Colorado
Montreal 9:00 PM
Vancouver
(2) Florida State 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 7:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
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Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
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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 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 TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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