Last Time Out:
The Gophers opened the exhibition schedule with a 79-57 victory over Cardinal Stritch on Nov. 1.
Senior Austin Hollins lead the Gophers with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor. His career high, which he established last season against Michigan, is 21 points.
Austin also led the team with four steals. He will head into Friday's season opener with 138 career thefts, good for 10th all-time in program history. Hollins is 77 steals shy of Gophers' all-time leader Melvin Newbern. He has averaged 46 steals a season in Maroon & Gold.
The Gophers shot .645 (20-31) from the field in the first half and .544 (31-57) for the game. Minnesota's best shooting half last season was .643 (18-28) in the first half against South Dakota State. Minnesota finished .569 (33-58) that day against South Dakota State, also a season high.
The team finished with six blocks, led by Elliott Eliason with three. Minnesota has led the B1G Conference in blocked shots the last five seasons.
Minnesota finished the game with 11 steals. The Gophers were second in the B1G Conference with 253 steals last season (7.4 spg).
The Gophers dished out 23 assists in 31 field goal makes against Cardinal Stritch. Minnesota's high in assists a season ago was 24 against Nebraska.
Junior College transfer DeAndre Mathieu made his unofficial debut in Gold Country against the Wolves. The point guard dished out nine assists to go along with seven points and three rebounds. The Gophers haven't had a player finish with double-digit assists since forward Damian Johnson dished out 10 dimes against Iowa on March 7, 2010.
Eagan native Joey King also made his unofficial debut on Friday. He was efficient, as he finished with 14 points and five assists in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Gophers open the season Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against Lehigh at Williams Arena. They will be opening up the regular season against a member of the Patriot League for the fourth time in the last seven seasons and the third-consecutive season (defeated Army 84-52 in 2007, opened with a 70-58 victory over Bucknell in 2011 and beat American 72-36 last season).
Minnesota holds a 9-1 all-time record against teams currently in the Patriot League (American: 1-0; Army: 2-0; Boston: N/A; Bucknell: 1-0; Colgate: 1-0; Holy Cross: 1-0; Lafayette: 1-0; Lehigh: N/A; Loyola (Md.): N/A; Navy: 2-1 - loss occurred Dec. 27, 1924).
Minnesota has a record of 47-4 over the last 51 years in regular season home openers. The four losses occurred in 1968 (Iowa State), 1969 (Notre Dame), 1987 (Drake) and 1988 (Ball State). That puts the Gophers current home opener win steak at 24.
Minnesota will begin the season with a whole new coaching staff, as well as five newcomers on the roster.
Head Coach Richard Pitino comes to Minnesota after spending last season at the helm of the Florida International program.
Pitino led FIU to 18 wins, the fourth-most in program history, and its first appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game. FIU finished with 11 conference wins on the season, the most by a Panther team since joining the Sun Belt Conference.
FIU had not had a winning season since 1999-2000 and in the three seasons before Pitino's hiring posted a combined record of 26-65.
Pitino added former Gopher Ben Johnson, along with Dan McHale and Kimani Young, to his staff at Minnesota.
Guards Malik Smith, DeAndre Mathieu and Daquein McNeil, along with forward Joey King will be making their Gopher debuts in Maroon & Gold. The roster also includes freshman walk-on guard Jasen Baranowski.
The Hollins' Chance at History:
Senior guard Austin Hollins and junior guard Andre Hollins will begin the 2013-14 season with career point totals of 851 and 820, respectively.
Austin Hollins finished his junior campaign with a career-high scoring average of 10.7 points per game, the second-highest average on the team last season.
Andre Hollins led the Gophers, and finished eighth in the Big Ten Conference, with an average of 14.6 ppg last season, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors by coaches and Third Team All-Big Ten by the media.
With 1,000 career points, Andre & Austin would join 38 other former Gophers on the list. Rodney Williams joined the list last season, finishing with 1,145 points.
Looking Back at 2012-13:
The Gophers finished the season with 21 victories and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota went 1-1 in the NCAA Tournament with an 83-63 victory over UCLA in the second round before losing to Florida 78-64. It was the first NCAA Tourney victory for the Gophers since the 1989-90 season (not counting vacated seasons).
Minnesota led the Big Ten Conference in blocked shots with a total of 187 last season, the fourth-most in program history. The Gophers have now led the conference in blocks the last five seasons, including five of the top six season block totals in the history of the Gopher program: a program leading 201 in 2008-09, 199 in 2009-10, 186 in 2011-12 and 169 in 2010-11.
Minnesota also led the Big Ten Conference in rebounding margin (+7.6) and offensive rebounds with and average of 14.7 offensive boards per game.
Rodney Williams finished his Gopher career with 1,145 points - 26th on the Gophers scoring list. Williams also finished with 537 rebounds to become just the 19th Gopher in the history of the program to amass 1,000 pts & 500 rbs. in a career.
Andre Hollins erupted for 41 points in a win over the University of Memphis, the third-highest total in the history of Gopher basketball - Oliver Shannon (42 vs. Wisconsin - 3/6/71) & Eric Magdanz (42 at Michigan - 3/5/62).