#Hollinsanity In the very arena where Knicks guard Jeremy Lin started a hot streak that led to "Linsanity," Austin and Andre Hollins continued their trend of good play that has gained the nickname "Hollinsanity." Andre carried the Gophers late in the game, including a drive for a key basket that put the Gophers up three with half a minute left in overtime.
Andre's double-digit scoring streak extended to eight games, including four 20-point games, and his NIT average is 17.8 ppg. The true freshman starting point guard also dished out five assists and did not commit a turnover until about the 12-minute mark of the second half. Austin has reached double figures in six of the last seven games, and is averaging 11.5 ppg in the NIT.
Williams contributed half of the Gophers' eight jams.
Dunk-O-Meter In building a 38-26 halftime lead, the Golden Gophers took advantage of one of the most high-percentage shots in basketball: the dunk. Rodney Williams got the dunk-o-meter rolling when Andre Ingram made a perfect pass to him for an alley-oop. Williams' first three field goals were of the slam variety. Ingram added two of his own, and Austin Hollins cleaned up a missed lay-up with a dunk, bringing the first-half team tally to six. Williams ended up with half of the team's eight total dunks. Streak Over, Record Still in Reach Though Williams' run of 20-point games fell two points short of continuing, he still has a shot at a Gopher NIT record. Through four games, his NIT point total sits at 84. With one game left on Thursday, he has a good chance to eclipse Voshon Lenard's single-tournament mark of 99 points, set in 1993. Holding the Huskies In its first three NIT games, Washington averaged 82.7 points per contest. The Huskies' lowest point total was 76 in those games. Even with overtime, the Gophers still held Washington to 67 points tonight. Minnesota never trailed. Just Five More Minutes The Gophers have played 35 extra minutes of hoops this season. They are 3-3 in overtime or double-overtime games, with half of those coming in postseason play (including the Big Ten Tournament). Six is the largest number of overtime contests on record for any season in the Gopher media guide, surpassing the five Minnesota played in 1980-81.
If I Can Make It There... The Gophers made it to New York, N.Y., by winning three road games. Tonight they made it to the NIT championship game by holding on against a No. 1 seed in one of basketball's most beloved venues. On Thursday, they will face third-seeded Stanford to decide who makes it back home with the championship trophy. The Gophers won titles in 1993 and 1998, the latter of which was later vacated.
Start spreading the news, the Gophers are live from New York! Even though it's Tuesday night and not Saturday, the Gophers are still fired up for their NIT semifinal game against the Washington Huskies (tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2).
Andre Hollins and the Gophers had shoot around at the Garden this afternoon.
Yes, it's the Big Apple, but the Gophers have been playing it pretty low key here in NYC. After arriving late Sunday night, Tubby Smith's squad did some studying yesterday morning before speaking meeting with both Minnesota and New York media. Click here for a photo gallery from Tuesday's activities.
Tubby also spoke a few words at the NIT opening luncheon at the Marriott Marquis hotel near Times Square. Watch what Tubby had to say here; he's introduced by ESPN's Fran Fraschilla, one of the TV analysts for tonight's game. (Just an FYI -- Tubby's wallet was not actually stolen, that's one of his favorite jokes!):
After a short practice at NYU yesterday afternoon (check out the photos in this gallery), the Gophers attended the official NIT opening banquet Monday night (at the prestigious Loeb Boathouse near Central Park). This morning (Tuesday), the Gophers had an hour-long shootaround at Madison Square Garden, the "World's Most Famous Arena" as it is branded. It was a pretty cool experience for the guys; check out this short video from the shoot around:
Tip-off is tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 -- be sure to watch and follow us on Twitter (@MNGopherHoops and @GopherAthletics) for live updates throughout the game!
Hollins Homecoming Officially a road game on the Gophers' schedule, tonight's game probably seemed like a home game to Andre Hollins. The freshman and Memphis native played in Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center four years in a row during the state tournament. Hollins helped his team to a state title there his sophomore year, and poured in 24 points tonight for the Gophers, extending his double-digit scoring streak to seven games, including three 20-point games.
Sophomore Austin Hollins, a native of Germantown, scored 10 points in his return to Tennessee. All of Austin's points and 20 of Andre's points came in the second half to help lift the Gophers to victory.
Hollins scored 10 points in his return to the state of Tennessee.
Williams Continues Torrid Pace Who moves on and who goes home in the postseason depends on which team is hot at the time. In the NIT, no one has been hotter than Rodney Williams. The junior forward boasts a streak of four games with 20-plus points, including all three of Minnesota's NIT contests. After a career high of 24 tonight, his three-game total sits at 66 points on 68.4-percent shooting. With at least one game remaining, Williams could threaten Voshon Leonard's single-tournament school record of 99 points, set in 1993.
20/20 Vision Tonight was the second time this season that Williams and Andre Hollins have teamed up to post 20-plus-point totals in the same game. The two both passed the 20-point mark against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
Freshman First Elliott Eliason has been a fixture in the starting lineup with Ralph Sampson III injured, but he had not yet scored in double figures until tonight. Eliason had a solid overall stat line: 12 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals, and an assist.
Madison Square Garden, Here We Come The Gophers will take on first-seeded Washington on Tuesday, March 27. This will be the Gophers' fourth trip to the NIT semifinals during non-vacated seasons. They are 2-1 in the three previous semifinal games, going on to win a championship in 1993. They also won the title in 1998, but it was later vacated. Minnesota last appeared in the semifinals in 2003.
Tough Guys With about 20 seconds left in the game, three Gophers went down on the court. Austin Hollins suffered a bloody nose running into a screen, Joe Coleman took an elbow to the face on a rebounding scramble, and Rodney Williams' leg cramped up after he jumped for that same rebound. Coleman fouled out on the play, and Williams was helped off the court to avoid putting pressure on the cramp. Williams did return to the game. Hollins finished the game with tissues in his nose to stop the blood. All three players seemed to be doing fine.
Scoring Early and Often Even after an 11-0 Miami run nearly erased the Gophers' 12-0 start, the Gophers still led by a dozen points at halftime, 35-23. The last time Minnesota led by double digits at the half was against Northwestern on Jan. 22 when they carried a 41-24 advantage into the locker room. Despite the small drought after jumping out to a 12-0 lead, the Gophers still ended up with 78 points for the game. They have surpassed the 70-point mark in four of their last five games.
On the individual level, ever since his three-point performance in the Gophers' loss to Indiana, Rodney Williams has been on a tear. He has scored in double figures each of the six games since then. Last game, 17 of his career-high 21 points came in the first half. Tonight, he scored 16 first-half points on 7-of-8 shooting. Williams ended up tying that career high with 21 points again, extending his streak of 20-point performances to three. Dan Coleman in 2007 was the last Gopher to put together such a streak.
Ingram's two dunks contributed to his career-high point total.
Career Night for Ingram Entering tonight's game, junior transfer Andre Ingram had averaged just 6.8 minutes per game. He played just two minutes in the Gophers' NIT opener against La Salle. But tonight, with Ralph Sampson III out and Oto Osenieks suffering a head injury during the game, Ingram played 24 minutes. He took advantage of the extra court time, playing with great energy on both ends of the court. Ingram pulled down six rebounds and scored eight points--both career highs--on 3-of-3 shooting, including two dunks, to lead the Gopher bench.
Only Eight Remain With tonight's win, the Gophers advanced to the NIT quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. The Gophers went on to lose the third place game that year. They lost in the second round in 2006, and the first in 2008. Minnesota will travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to face Middle Tennessee on Wednesday.
One Streak Ends, Another Continues Sophomore Austin Hollins' double-digit scoring streak came to an end at four games. Meanwhile, freshman Andre Hollins extended his to six with 14 points today. The younger Hollins is averaging 17.2 points during his streak.
With tonight's win over LaSalle, Tubby Smith recorded his 100th victory as head coach of the Golden Gophers. He is the eighth coach in Minnesota history to reach that milestone. Smith's win-loss record now stands at 100-67 with the Gophers, and 487-212 over his 21 seasons as a head coach. Tonight's win also secured his fourth 20-win season in five years at Minnesota.
Smith's 100th win was also his first postseason win at Minnesota.
Smith was stuck at 97 wins for a while as the Gophers went through a rough patch late in the season, but picked up No. 98 against Nebraska in the regular season finale, then No. 99 over Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament.
Victory No. 100 holds more importance than simply a third digit--this was also Smith's first postseason win in his time at Minnesota. The Gophers lost in the first round of the NIT in 2008 (Smith's first year), and the first round of the NCAA Tournament in both 2009 and 2010.
"I really didn't realize it," Smith said of reaching 100. "You really don't think about that--you're just so involved in the game. I'm really happy to get this win. Whether it's the first one or the 100th, it's always good to get a win."
L.J. Cooke is the school's all-time wins leader at 250-135 over a 28-season Minnesota career that ended in 1924. Most recently before Smith, Dan Monson (1999-2006) joined the 100-win club. His Gopher record was 118-106.
Smith and the Gophers still have an opportunity to add more wins this season. They will have a second round game later this week. Congratulations to Coach Smith!
Strong First Half Finish After trailing for much of the up-and-down first half, the Gophers went into the locker room with a 40-37 lead. Minnesota ended the half on an 8-0 run. Rodney Williams led the way with 17 points in the first.
Back-to-Back Big Games For the first time in his career, Rodney Williams posted consecutive 20-point games. He scored an even 20 in the Gophers' loss to Michigan in the Big Ten quarterfinals, and upped that total to 21 tonight, tying a career high. He now has three 20-point games in his career, all this season.
Williams scored some of his points with his patented highlight reel dunks, but also mixed in some mid-range jumpers. The jumpshot has been a focus for him during this season as it was during the offseason, and he showed some improvement in his shooting stroke today. Williams will become even more of a scoring threat next season if he continues to work on his shot, forcing opponents to guard him on the perimeter as well as around the basket.
Andre Hollins has scored in double figures in five straight games.
Gophers in the NIT This is Minnesota's 14th appearance in the NIT. The Gophers are 19-11--including a championship in 1993--in the tournament during non-vacated seasons. With the vacated games, they are 25-12, including another title in 1998. Their last NIT appearance came in 2008, Tubby Smith's first season at Minnesota, when they lost to Maryland in the first round. Minnesota's last NIT victory came in 2006 against Wake Forest in the first round.
Hollins Hot Streak With Trevor Mbakwe out for the season, Ralph Sampson III (the only other senior) injured, and just three juniors on the team, the Gophers have needed big contributions from their younger players. Recently, sophomore Austin Hollins and freshman Andre Hollins have been the ones to step up. Andre (13 tonight) scored in double figures the past five games, Austin (16 tonight) in the past four. This five game stretch includes the Big Ten Tournament, where Andre earned all-tournament honors by scoring 46 points in two games. Smith Reaches the Century Mark Tonight's win was Tubby Smith's 100th as Minnesota's head coach. He is the eighth Gopher coach to reach triple digits. This was also the 20th win of the season for the Gophers, making this the fourth season in which Smith has guided them to at least 20 wins. More information here.
Freshman Point Guards Andre Hollins out-dueled Northwestern's Big Ten All-Freshman point guard Dave Sobolewski in yesterday's first round victory. Today he had to face the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in Trey Burke. The two youngsters played virtually the whole game and led their respective teams in scoring. The two guarded each other went back and forth with key points at the end of the game.
Andre Hollins led the Gophers in scoring in both Big Ten Tournament games.
In the end, Burke and his Wolverines came out on top. Burke has been sensational all year, which is why the media selected him as conference rookie of the year. In just the second Big Ten game of the year, Burke scored 27 points against the Gophers. Today, he scored 30.
Hollins played just 14 scoreless minutes in the teams' first meeting, but has come a long way since then. He showed flashes of his talent at times during the early season, and has recently emerged as a more consistent scorer and team leader. Hollins reached double figures in his last four games, including team highs of 25 and 21 points in the last two games. His recent play gives the Gophers good reason to be excited for the future.
Sound Familiar? For the second time in two days, and the fifth time this season, the Gophers played overtime basketball. This was their first time playing back-to-back overtime contests since the 2003-04 season, and their first time since 1980-81 to play five overtime games in one season. Minnesota is the first team ever to play multiple overtime games in one Big Ten Tournament. First Half Ups and Downs The Gophers drew first blood with an Andre Hollins three-pointer, and they continued to build a lead from there. Michigan did not make a field goal until the 13:27 mark. The Gophers led by up to nine points in the first, but the Wolverines' switch to zone defense helped them slow down the Gopher offense. They tied the game for the first time with under two minutes left in the half. Minnesota still went into the locker room with a 23-20 lead after Austin Hollins hit a three.
Hot Start for the Hollins Minnesota's first 15 points came from a player named Hollins. Andre Hollins scored the first eight before Austin Hollins added a jumper. Andre scored the next five before Chip Armelin broke the all-Hollins scoring streak. During that stretch, Andre was 3-for-3 from three-point range. Andre Hollins finished the first half with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, sitting on the bench for the last several minutes with two fouls. For the game, the duo combined for 37 points, including a career-high 25 from Andre.
Eliason set a new career with 10 rebounds.
Cleaning Up the Boards The Gophers out-rebounded the Wildcats, 44-29. Making his fifth career start in place of the injured Ralph Sampson III, redshirt freshman Elliott Eliason set a new career high with 10, bettering the nine-rebound mark he set against USC in December. Joe Coleman and Austin Hollins each added seven. Rubber Match A victory today gave Minnesota the 2-1 edge in this year's meetings after the teams split their regular season series. The Gophers won decisively at Williams Arena on Jan. 22, and the Wildcats won at Welsh-Ryan on Feb. 18. Today's match-up was the closest of the three.
Five More Minutes Missed last shots by both squads sent the game into overtime tied at 61. The Gophers have gone 2-2 in overtime games this season. The last time Minnesota played four overtime games in one season was 1982-83, and the Gophers were 2-2 that year as well. Three Is the Key Against Northwestern, a team that relies heavily on three-pointers, the Gophers needed to hit some threes of their own to keep pace. In the end, both teams ended up with identical three-point shooting numbers, going 11-for-26. The Gophers have made 10 or more triples in three games this year, most recently against Nebraska on Saturday.
Gophers in the Big Ten Tournament The Gophers are now 8-6 all-time in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, and 13-14 in the tournament overall. They own a 4-2 record against Northwestern in conference tournament play. The Wildcats are Minnesota's most common Big Ten Tournament opponent. Northwestern won last year's first round match-up, and the Gophers won in 2008 and 2009.
Vote for your favorite Rodney Williams dunk of the year!
It's time to vote for your favorite Rodney Williams dunk of the season! Fan voting (click above to watch all ten entries in our countdown) has revealed two clear-cut favorites -- Rodney's epic 360-degree slam against USC last December and his gravity-defying leap against Illinois in the Gophers' late January win.
To spice up the competition, however, we're adding a last-second curveball to the mix -- Rodney's unbelievable one-handed slam against Nebraska this past Saturday at the Barn! Once you watch it (it was ESPN's number one play on their nightly "Top Plays" countdown) you'll understand why we had to make an exception and add this to the competition -- it was a great play!
We'll leave the voting open until Thursday, when the Gophers will take on Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament. Cast your vote and encourage your friends to do the same -- which one will emerge victorious?
Senior Day Seniors Ralph Sampson III and Trevor Mbakwe were honored before today's game. The video embedded above was played on the video board. Sampson will leave the University of Minnesota as one of only five players to compile 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 150 blocks. His numbers stand at 1,016 points, 630 rebounds, and 203 blocks after today's game. He passed up Larry Mikan, Dick Garmaker, and Jim Brewer to move into 34th place on the scoring list.
Mbakwe posted 19 double-doubles and piled up 327 rebounds (third-best all-time at Minnesota) as a junior last year. In the seven games before his injury this year, he posted four more double-doubles. He may be able to return for a sixth year, but was honored today just in case.
Sampson scored 12 points on his senior day.
Long Distance On this day during the 25th year of the three-point shot in college basketball, the Golden Gophers and Cornhuskers put on quite a display. The teams shot a combined 23-for-53 from three-point range. In total, four players in today's game made at least four three-pointers. Nebraska's Bo Spencer led the way with a 7-for-12 performance.
At one point in the first half, the Golden Gophers were 7-of-10 from three-point range. Austin Hollins and Chip Armelin each hit a trio of triples before halftime. Armelin made a fourth in the second half for a career high, and Hollins also added one more. For the game, Austin Hollins, Andre Hollins, and Armelin went a combined 10-for-18 from behind the arc. The 10 threes tied a season high. In addition to Spencer for Nebraska, Dylan Talley made four threes.
"It's Called Williams Arena for a Reason" Those are the words of Big Ten Network play-by-play man Eric Collins after one of Rodney Williams's baskets today. In the first half, Williams dunked right over the Huskers' Brandon Ubel, and BTN.com posted the highlight, comparing it to a Blake Griffin dunk (linked above). Williams also added an alley-oop from Sampson in the first. Later in the game, he soared in from the second-farthest block for a spectacular, uncontested dunk.
Balanced Scoring Attack For the second time this season, Minnesota saw five of its players reach double figures in the scoring column. Armelin's career high tally of 20 points led the way, with Williams (16), Austin Holins (13), Andre Hollins (12), and Sampson (12) joining in. The last time five Gophers scored in double digits was the win over Northwestern on Jan. 22.
May I Be of Assistance? The Gophers assisted their teammates on 23 of 26 field goals today. Minnesota dished out a season-high 24 assists against Central Michigan on Dec. 13, but today's total is a new Big Ten season high. Andre Hollins led the team with six.