Gophers rebound after rough week

Gophers rebound after rough week

Published Jan. 16, 2011 7:09 p.m. ET

By Chris Monter

January 16, 2011

The Minnesota Golden Gophers won their second straight home game as they defeated Iowa 69-59 at Williams Arena Sunday. They started the week with a 1-3 Big Ten mark and the news of Trevor Mbakwe's arrest on Monday, but rebounded for two wins, ensuring that they will remain in the Top 25 and putting them into a tie for sixth place in the conference.

Minnesota improved to 14-4 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play, while Iowa slipped to 7-10 and 0-5 in conference action.

Minnesota led 30-19 at halftime as Rodney Williams had seven points, including three rim-shaking dunks and Ralph Sampson III added six points.

Matt Gatens paced the Hawkeyes with eight first half points.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half as Minnesota was just 10 of 24 (41.7 percent) from the field and they missed all five 3-point attempts. Iowa was only eight of 25 from the floor (32 percent) and two of 11 from beyond the arc.

Iowa went on a 21-7 run to start the second half, taking a 40-37 lead. However, the Golden Gophers knotted the game with a 3-pointer from Al Nolen, who hit the game-winner versus Purdue on Thursday. From there they went on a 15-2 run of their own to go up 52-42, highlighted by a Trevor Mbakwe dunk after a steal and assist from Blake Hoffarber.

Minnesota looked to have the game under control as they led 62-49, only to see Eric May and Gatens hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to seven with 2:00 left. However, the Golden Gophers settled down and came away with a 10-point victory.

Mbakwe, who came off the bench for the second straight game after his arrest Monday, had 16 points and 12 rebounds for his eleventh double-double of the season, the most in the Big Ten. He added three blocked shots. Nolen added 13 points and eight rebounds and Sampson had 11 points, six rebounds and tied his career high with seven blocked shots.

Leading scorer Hoffarber had nine points, four rebounds and four assists, despite shooting just two of 10 from the field. Austin Hollins had seven points off the bench, his best effort since scoring eight against North Dakota State on November 24th.

Melsahn Basabe led Iowa with 20 points and 13 rebounds, his third double-double of the year. He converted eight of 12 shots from the field. Iowa natives Eric May and Matt Gatens had 16 and 13 points, respectively. However, Gatens was just five of 21 from the field. Bryce Cartwright added 10 points and five assists.

Minnesota, who is leading the Big Ten in blocked shots, had 11 rejections and outboarded Iowa 42-32. The Golden Gophers snared 15 offensive rebounds and had 24 points off their offensive glass work.

Minnesota held Iowa to just 37.3 percent shooting and had nine steals in the second half.


Minnesota faces Michigan next Saturday at 6:00 pm on the road. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. The Wolverines are 11-7 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten Conference play, having lost their last three contests.

Michigan is led by sophomore Darius Morris, who is averaging a team-best 15.7 points per game and is shooting 50 percent from the field. Freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is adding 11.2 points per game. The son of former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway considered Minnesota before picking Michigan.

Zach Novak is a rarity for the Wolverines. He leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 caroms per game and free throw percentage (84.4 percent).

The Wolverines are being outscored by 11 points per game in Big Ten action. Their 61.6 points per game in conference play ranks last in the Big Ten.

They lost to Indiana, which was winless in conference play, 80-61 Saturday.


Six Big Ten teams were ranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll and Ohio State will move into first place with the loss of previous No. 1 Duke. Only the Big East had more ranked teams with seven. The Big 12 has five.


Minnesota signee Andre Hollins, a 6-foot-2 guard from Memphis (Tenn.) White Station, scored 20 points as the Spartans defeated Melrose 55-52. Melrose defeated White Station in the state title game last season. Hollins is averaging a team-high 25.6 points per game as the Spartans are off to a 16-3 start. They face Dyer County on Martin Luther King Day at the Fed Ex Forum.


The other Gopher signee Joe Coleman, a 6-foot-4 guard from Minnetonka (Minn.) Hopkins, scored 29 points as the Royals defeated Minneapolis North 101-61 on Saturday. The Royals improved to 11-0 with the victory. Coleman is scoring 23.5 points per contest. The Royals face St. Paul Como Park Tuesday. Coleman averaged 24.7 points per game as a junior and helped lead Hopkins to back-to-back Class AAAA titles.