Reusse: Austin Hollins enjoys a long-overdue big night

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2014 - 3:43 PM

The Iowa Hawkeyes are not strangers to surrendering points, with the pace at which they prefer to play. Yet, these Hawkeyes were taken apart as never before in the five Big Ten losses they brought to Williams Arena on Tuesday night.

A Richard Pitino team that scored the embarrassing totals of 54, 49 and 46 points in its previous three games shredded Iowa for 51 points in an astounding first half. The Gophers followed that by slowing down when advisable in the second half, made 13 of 14 free throws in the final 70 seconds and put away the Hawkeyes 95-89.

This was the most points for the Gophers in a Big Ten game since they won at Indiana 96-91 on Jan. 8, 1997. That was in overtime. They had not reached 95 points in regulation in the Big Ten since a 105-74 victory over Northwestern on Jan. 11, 1995.

There were two sources for this explosion: Iowa’s willingness to play fast, and a basket on the east end of the court that looked as large as a hot tub for the Gophers in the first half.

Austin Hollins went 4-for-4 on threes aimed at that basket. OK, it has been a tough senior season for Austin, but Gophers fans have seen enough moments in 131 previous career games to accept this as feasible.

Andre Hollins and Malik Smith both went 1-for-2 on threes. OK, Andre has been coolish since returning from an ankle injury, and the bombs haven’t been dropping for Smith, but no one is going to be surprised when that pair makes half of their threes.

That left Charles Buggs, a redshirt freshman who had played a total of two minutes and a few seconds in 15 previous Big Ten games.

Thus, it was a bit of a shock when Buggs entered in the game’s first five minutes. With nothing to go on, the Hawkeyes basically ignored Buggs on the offensive end, and the lanky 6-9 forward turned into Kevin Love:

He shot 3-for-3 on three-pointers, the last of which was contested. He had another basket on a drive for 11 points in 14 minutes.

You can’t lose a game when a player who has been invisible goes berserk with 11 points in 14 minutes, right?

As good as was that story, even better was the revival of Austin Hollins. He was lauded for three seasons for his effort by the previous coach, Tubby Smith, and the same review has been offered by the straight-shooting Pitino.

No player who puts that much into it should be required to go through the offensive misery that Hollins has endured in his last Big Ten season. His inability to produce at key moments had been significant in the Gophers’ offensive struggles.

“Austin deserved a performance like this,” said Andre Hollins, a junior who had been his primary backcourt partner for the previous two seasons. “His games are limited now. He knows this is his last go-round.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the most professional guy on this team in preparing for a game. You never could tell if he’s in a slump or coming off a game like this by the way he’s going to practice.”

Austin wound up 8-for-10 from the field, 7-for-7 on free throws and finished with a career-high 27 points.

He came in at 24 percent (13-for-54) on threes in the Big Ten. And now in his second-to-last scheduled game in the Barn, there was Austin bombing four in the first half and finishing 4-for-6.

Did the cylinder look a bit larger than it has most of this winter?

“Yeah, the basket does get a little bigger when you start off making a couple,” he said. “What matters is it was a huge win after a couple of tough losses.”

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 7 1st Qtr 6:40
Dallas 0
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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Green Bay
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Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
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Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 40 2nd Half 15:32
Georgetown 44
FIU 32 2nd Half 11:27
USC Upstate 43
Long Island 31 2nd Half
Stony Brook 36
San Diego 20 1st Half 10:55
Xavier 18
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
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Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
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(12) Arizona
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(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
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East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
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North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
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Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
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(24) Louisville
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(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
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(7) Ohio State
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(14) Wisconsin
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(1) Florida State
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(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
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UNLV
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Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
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Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 45 2nd Half 11:36
Washington 56
Wichita State 17 2nd Half 13:21
Fla Gulf Coast 39
Wisconsin 14 1st Half 4:20
(1) South Carolina 25
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
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Illinois 5:00 PM
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(19) Oregon State 8:00 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 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

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