Just like with Bemidji State, the Gophers stuggled to defend the three-point shot against Augustana

Just like with Bemidji State, the Gophers stuggled to defend the three-point shot against Augustana

 

A few postgame notes from tonight's exhibition finale:
 
Familiar problems …
 
  • Shooting. Like last week, this was again the Gophers’ biggest struggle. They converted just 20 percent of their three-point shots in the first half and finished 5-for-17 from behind the arc.
  • Stopping the 3. In the first half particularly, three-point defense against a team of pristine shooters was loose. Augustana’s Cody Schilling and Drae Murray went off and the Vikings went 7-for-17 in the first half.
  • Underplaying inside. As Tubby Smith says, the Gopher size should be a strength. But Ralph Sampson, after looking good on a couple of plays early, got pushed off the post too often. Elliott Eliason and Andre Ingram still seem to be rushing things in the paint.
New concerns …
 
  • Point. Just as you can’t make too much from point guard Andre Hollins’ strong first game, it might be risky to take too much from some struggles in his second – but Tuesday the starting freshman, facing a much tougher matchup (Murray) than the previous week, had his hands full. He had one assist to two turnovers and played just 17 minutes as Smith chose to give the ball to Julian Welch late with the game on the line.
  • Turnovers. The Gophers had 14 in the first game, but upped themselves with 17 on Tuesday. Welch gave up the ball on his first career possession as a Gopher, and Maverick Ahanmisi evened his assist-turnover ratio at 2-2. Sampson had a team-high seven.
Improved …
  • Free throw shooting. As a team, the Gophers shot almost 66 percent from the line and made 11 of 15 in the first half. Trevor Mbakwe, who struggled in that aspect last season went 12-for-13 from the line. Julian Welch was 2-for-2 and Joe Coleman did better with 3-for-4. Rodney Williams made his first three, but finished 4-for-9.
  • Finishing/Coming from behind. One of the Gophers’ greatest struggles last season was converting close wins in the final five minutes. Tuesday, they built a strong second half to pull out a win. Yes, it was a Division II team, but it was still a positive trend.
  • Second-half play. The Gophers picked up most aspects of their game in the second – they shot better, they hit more 3-pointers, they had more rebounds and their defense was tighter.
“I liked the way we played in the second half,” Smith said. “In the first half you always want to play better, but coaches want to see the perfect game and we were certainly far from it tonight.”