Mathieu steps up as Gophers nab needed victory at Northwestern

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 7:13 AM

The Gophers held off Northwestern to avenge their earlier loss.

view larger photos

  

– Before the Gophers men’s basketball team took the court at Northwestern, coach Richard Pitino played a clip of another game in the locker room.

It was the final few seconds of the last time the two teams had met, on Feb. 1 at Williams Arena, when the Gophers failed to score on their final possession and the Wildcats pulled out a one-point victory.

“Everybody in the locker room was pretty quiet,” said center Mo Walker, who had missed the Gophers’ final shot under the basket in that game. “It was a revenge game for us. We knew we had to settle the score.”

They did so in a way that was often cringe-inducing, pulling out a 54-48 victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday in a game that featured 17 Gophers turnovers, many of them unforced. But by locking down defensively in the second half, as well as getting a little luck, the Gophers were able to exorcise another demon as well, getting their second road victory in seven tries on the Big Ten schedule.

“We were tired of losing on the road,” said point guard DeAndre Mathieu, who finished with 18 points and four rebounds, providing the offensive spark in the second half. “Coach was tired of losing on the road. We knew we could do it, we just had to get out there and we finally got one.”

With 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining, the Gophers took a 49-44 lead on a three-pointer from Austin Hollins after Northwestern center Alex Olah went down at the other end because of an ankle injury. The Wildcats missed three free throws and two three-pointers down the stretch, and Walker drew a huge charge from Drew Crawford with 33 seconds remaining to help seal the victory. Walker had a stellar night on the defensive end all around, recording three blocked shots.

A defensive combination of Austin Hollins and Daquein McNeil held Crawford to 1-for-15 shooting, halting Northwestern’s best offensive threat, even if JerShon Cobb (23 points) stepped up to fill the senior’s shoes. The Gophers held the Wildcats to 30.2 percent shooting from the field overall.

“A great, great defensive performance,” Pitino said.

But it wasn’t always pretty. In fact, frequently it was just the opposite.

After making a three-pointer just before halftime to pull the Gophers (17-9, 6-7 Big Ten) within 28-25, Mathieu picked up right where he left off after the break. The 5-9 junior took the ball from end to end for one layup after another, keeping the Gophers neck-and-neck with the Wildcats over a second half that saw six ties and five lead changes.

“The three kind of got my confidence going a little bit, and then Coach lit a fire under me at halftime,” Mathieu said. “He’s good at getting me going even though he shouldn’t have to.”

Like the rest of the team, though, Mathieu struggled mightily when it came to ballhandling.

Mathieu had four turnovers, and the Gophers were fortunate to trail by only three at the break after committing 10 in the first half, despite Northwestern (12-14, 5-8) not pressuring on defense. Their turnover total was up to 15 at the 14:21 mark of the second half, but they committed only two the rest of the way.

The victory was essential for keeping the Gophers on the bubble for an NCAA tournament berth but also potentially for their psyche after they had lost four of five coming in. They probably need to win three of the next five games in order to secure an invitation to the Big Dance.

“We never, ever talk about it,” Pitino said of the NCAA tournament. “We don’t even mention it. … It just means we’re on a one-game winning streak.”



  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Gophers 54, Northwestern 48

    Monday February 17, 2014

  • Postgame: The good and the bad in big win at Northwestern

    Sunday February 16, 2014

    It wasn't pretty much of the time, but the Gophers pulled out their second road win of the conference schedule, and one they badly needed.

  • Hartman: Mathieu, defense add up to Gophers victory at Northwestern

    Monday February 17, 2014

    The Gophers needed this win to maintain NCAA tournament hopes.

  • Leaders fall: Afternoon of road upsets in Big Ten basketball

    Monday February 17, 2014

    Nebraska went to Michigan State and knocked off the No. 9-ranked Spartans and No. 21 Wisconsin took down No. 15 Michigan in Ann Arbor to make the Big Ten race...

  • Gophers-Northwestern game recap

    Monday February 17, 2014

    GAME RECAPImpact playerDeAndre Mathieu, GophersThe point guard came alive in the second half, providing the offensive spark the Gophers needed....

  • Gophers coach Richard Pitino spoke with point guard DeAndre Mathieu in the first half. “Coach lit a fire under me at halftime,” said Mathieu, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, going 5-for-6 from the floor. All six shots were driving layups.

  • Minnesota forward Joey King, left, drove against Northwestern guard Drew Crawford.

  • Gophers center Mo Walker, going against Northwestern’s Nikola Cerina, battled foul trouble but contributed eight points, six rebounds and three blocks.

  • Gophers guard DeAndre Mathieu (4), all 5-9 of him, jumped to grab a rebound over 6-4 teammate Austin Hollins and 6-5 Northwestern senior Drew Crawford.

  • Gophers 54, northwestern 48

    Up next: 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Illinois • Williams Arena • TV: BTN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 22 2nd Qtr
New Orleans 25
Indiana 24 2nd Qtr 12:00
Orlando 27
LA Clippers 31 2nd Qtr 8:59
Phoenix 24
Minnesota 24 2nd Qtr 11:36
Atlanta 28
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 10 2nd Prd 10:38
Team Foligno 6
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 52 2nd Half 5:43
Iona 75
Notre Dame 2 1st Half 15:40
NC State 8
Belmont 0 1st Half 19:34
Tennessee St 0
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 52 2nd Half 10:00
(12) North Carolina 54
Miami-Florida 39 2nd Half 7:29
(4) Louisville 51
(21) Minnesota 42 2nd Half 12:18
(25) Rutgers 49
California 7 1st Half 9:38
UCLA 19
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close