Read my full story on Minnesota’s 85-81 2OT loss to South Dakota, here.
When South Dakota announced its non-conference schedule this summer, senior Eric Robertson’s eyes immediately went to one matchup: Minnesota.
Shortly after, the Coyotes passed around posters reminding fans of that game.
December 5 – at Minnesota, it read.
And what player did it feature? Wayzata-native Robertson, of course.
“I looked at that quite a bit,” he said after Saturday’s upset. “It definitely gave me motivation. I was just stoked to come here and play.”
It showed, with Robertson collecting 16 points and four rebounds, and playing a big role in keeping South Dakota cruising with his parents, four grandparents, cousins and numerous friends in the stands. Robertson scored seven consecutive points to put the Coyotes up 57-55 with 1:44 left in regulation after Minnesota briefly led, and he scored the tying basket of the first overtime to force the final extra session.
I caught up with him after the game. Here's some of our conversation.
What did you think when you knew you’d be coming to play Minnesota? Right when we found out we had the game on the schedule, I was excited. I was looking forward to this more than any other game. And to come out and get a W is all I could ever ask for.
What is it like playing in a big, loud road arena like this one? Some people fold in that situation and some people perform better. Honestly, in the first half, I might have folded a little bit because I played absolutely awful. It’s definitely different than playing in some of the mid-major arenas that we play, a lot bigger and the fans definitely were all over me this game. But for me, in the second half, it just fueled my fire.
You picked up your fourth foul with 12:43 to go in the second half but managed to hang around until finally fouling out with 1:30 to go in the second overtime. That’s a long time to have four fouls. What was the balance like for you? I was trying to play defense with good positioning because they were calling some interesting fouls. I was just trying to keep my hands straight up and not grab anybody. It was definitely a struggle, but I’m glad I fended it off as long as I did before I fouled out.
Late in the second half, you reeled off seven straight points to keep South Dakota on top. Was that a neat moment for you given the circumstances? It was exciting, especially here in Minnesota in front of all my friends and family, it was huge. But I was just excited that it kept us in the game and it got us the momentum to eventually win.
Who is more excited for the win? You or your parents. My parents.
What did they say to you afterward? Just that they’re so proud of me, they’re so happy and that I had a great game and all that. I got probably the biggest hugs I’ve ever gotten.