Gophers Host North Dakota State at the Barn
The Golden Gophers hope to continue the great start to the 2008-09 season, as they play host to North Dakota State Nov. 28 at Williams Arena. The game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT and can be seen on TheBig Ten Network.
Minnesota is off to its first 5-0 start since the 1999-00 season and holds a 23-1 lead over NDSU in the all-time series. The Gophers defeated the Bison 88-56 a season ago thanks to 15 points apiece from Al Nolen and Dan Coleman. Minnesota is a combined 47-1 all time against teams in the Summit League.
NDSU comes in to the game with a record of 2-1 with victories over Mayville State and Northern Arizona. The Bison were defeated by Idaho 78-69 on Nov. 22. They are led by senior guard Ben Woodside, who comes in to the game with averages of 22.0 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting .525 from the field. Woodside has played in 88 career games and is the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,615 points scored. Fellow seniors Brett Winkelman (1,400 points) and Mike Nelson (1,219 points) are 11th and 16th, respectively, on the all-time list.
Abu-Shamala Plays 100th Career Game
Senior co-captain Jamal Abu-Shamala played in his 100th career game against Eastern Washington on Nov. 26. The Gophers’ all-time games played list includes 12 players, led by Sam Jacobson who played in 130 career games. Spencer Tollackson (2004-08), Michael Bauer (2000-04), Bob Martin (1989-92), Kevin Lynch (1988-91) and Randy Breuer are all teid for 8th place with 119 games played.
Sophomore guard Blake Hoffarber is quickly working his way up Minnesota's three-point field goal charts. He was 1-of-5 from long-range in Wednesday's 88-67 win vs. Eastern Washington, making him 10-of-27 (.370) this season.
Last year, Hoffarber connected on 70-of-164 (.427) three-point attempts. His total of 70 ranks fourth for the most treys in a single season at Minnesota. Hoffarber has made multiple three-pointers in 23 career games, and the Gophers own a record of 17-6 when that happens.
His career three-point field-goal percentage of .419 (80-191) is tied for fourth all-time in Gopher history. Ray Gaffney (1986-89) holds the record with a percentage of .450 (50-111).
In 2007-08, Hoffarber broke the Gophers’ mark for three-pointers by a freshman, which was set by Voshon Lenard (51) in 1991-92.
Sophomore guard Al Nolen is off to a great start this season, with 31 assists and just eight turnovers during Minnesota's first five games. Nolen dished out a career-best nine assists in the 68-61 win against Bowling Green on Nov. 15, and added six assists in each of the Gophers' other two victories at the NABC Classic. Nolen has 19 career games with one turnover or less, and Minnesota is 14-5 in those games.
Junior Damian Johnson made his presence felt in his first game back from a broken hand during the Nov. 22 72-71 victory at Colorado State. The 6-7 forward was in the starting lineup for the Gophers, and recorded six points, five rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots in 21 minutes of action. Last season, Johnson led the Gophers with 46 blocked shots, and ranked second on the team for both rebounds (161) and steals (59).
Colton Iverson (10 blocks), Ralph Sampson III (5), and Paul Carter (5), combined to block 20 shots in the three-game NABC Classic. Iverson, a 6-10 freshman center from Yankton, S.D., swatted nine Bowling Green field goal attempts on Saturday to help the Gophers smash the single-game record with 17. The previous best of 13 had been accomplished three times, most recently in an 83-68 loss versus Iowa on Jan. 13, 2004.
Iverson's total against BGSU ties for the third-best single-game performance in school history. Joel Przybilla was the most recent player to record nine blocks, doing so during a 90-62 win at Williams Arena to open the 1999-2000 season.
Blake Cleans the Glass
It wouldn't be a surprise to see sophomore Blake Hoffarber leading the Gophers in a statistical category, but it might surprise some to see the 6-4 guard leading the team in rebounding. But that is the case through five games, as Hoffarber is tied for the team lead with 25 boards to average 5.0 per game. Last season, Hoffarber pulled down 100 caroms in 34 games for an average of 2.9 per game.
Since the start of the 2007-08 season, the Gophers are 12-3 in games in which Jamal Abu-Shamala has made a three-point field goal. Abu-Shamala, a senior guard/forward, who made his 52th career start Nov. 26, is closing in on his 100th career trey. In doing so, he would become just the 12th Minnesota player to reach that plateau. Arriel McDonald (1991-94) and Adam Boone (2003-04, 2005-06) are currently tied for 10th all-time with 100 career three-pointers. Abu-Shamala has made 97-of-232 (.418) trifectas during his four-year career in a Gophers uniform. Abu-Shamala's career three-point percentage currently ranks fifth all-time at Minnesota.