Feb 14, 2013, 10:16 PM EDT
Having lost six of their last eight games, Minnesota was in danger of falling out of the bottom half of the Big Ten standings with a loss to No. 20 Wisconsin.
But two Joe Coleman free throws with 17.4 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 49, and from there the Golden Gophers would go on to pick up a much-needed 58-53 victory. That halts the slide (2-6 in the eight games prior to tonight) that had some ready to run Tubby Smith out of Minneapolis.
The ugly showing on the offensive end however? That may be something that Minnesota fans have to get used to down the stretch.
Andre Hollins shot 5-of-16 from the field but finished with 21 points as offense was hard to come by for both teams, and his three halfway through overtime sealed the deal. Regardless of the offensive struggles Minnesota simply needed a victory with games against Ohio State and Indiana looming (after a trip to Iowa this weekend).
“We want to simplify things,” Smith said following the game. “One of the things that we’ve been doing is having Dre run a lot of stuff, call a lot of different plays, and I just said, ‘Lets narrow it down.’ I wanted him to get out and run more because everybody focuses on him. He’s our leading scorer.”
Minnesota shot 36.9% tonight but made enough trips to the foul line to gut out the victory, shooting 18-of-24 from the charity stripe and outscoring Wisconsin by eight (18-10).
Also of note was the fact that Wisconsin shot 11-of-31 from inside the arc, and even with the Badgers scoring nearly 35% of their points on three-pointers Bo Ryan’s team needs to hit their two-point shots at a decent rate in order to keep opponents honest. Minnesota was able to do enough defensively to limit Wisconsin’s quality two-point looks, which allowed them to remain within striking distance after a slow start.
Thursday’s win wasn’t pretty and anyone connected with it will express the desire to play better, but Minnesota simply needed the result against their rival. They can worry about the aesthetics of the result on Friday.
“That was a real big win for us. We were coming in on a losing streak and we needed something to pick us up,” said Williams.
“We have a lot of people down on us right now but we know what we are capable of and how good we can be and I think this win can put us back to how we were.”
Mar 11, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT
As weird as this may sound, the SEC may have more to play for in their conference tournament than any other conference in the country will have. Hear me out. It starts with Kentucky. The Wildcats entered the season as the No. 1 team in the country and have, since then, essentially remained the same…
Mar 11, 2014, 2:52 AM EDT
Three more teams are dancing after tonight’s exhilarating conference tournament action.
Mar 11, 2014, 2:05 AM EDT
There are eight days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. Our latest bracket projection can be found here. Gonzaga: The Zags entered Monday night’s WCC quarterfinal sitting in pretty good…
Mar 11, 2014, 12:43 AM EDT
In less than 36 months, Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello has taken the Jaspers from 6-25 to the NCAA tournament.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT
Get to know the eighth entry into the 2014 NCAA Tournament field, the Wofford Terriers.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT
Cameron Bairstow spent his offseason toiling in international competition, and return to New Mexico with a chip on his shoulder. After a season spent toying with the other Mountain West frontcourts, Bairstow’s efforts might not get the necessary recognition.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT
Highlights of Delaware’s win in the CAA title game, as seen on the NBC Sports Network.
Mar 10, 2014, 9:56 PM EDT
Get to know the sixth entry into the 2014 NCAA Tournament field, the Delaware Blue Hens.
Mar 10, 2014, 9:43 PM EDT
Get to know the fifth entry into the 2014 NCAA Tournament field, the Manhattan Jaspers
Mar 10, 2014, 9:26 PM EDT
Joel Embiid will miss the Big 12 tournament and likely will be out for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. What does this mean for Kansas?
Mar 10, 2014, 8:23 PM EDT
This is great. The bench mob for the Colby College Mules has extensive choreographed sideline celebrations. Their best is the “El Toro Tres Puntos”. Without a doubt. (h/t Colby’s finest)
Mar 10, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT
Louisiana Tech is fighting to stay on top of Conference USA after four teams tied atop the league standings with a 13-3 record during the regular season.
Mar 10, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT
The CAA Tournament title will take be played in Baltimore on Monday evening. League champ Delaware will square off with Williams & Mary, who is looking to make their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. The game will tip off at roughly 7:00 p.m. You can watch the game live on NBC Sports Live Extra. WATCH…
Mar 10, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT
UConn’s Shabazz Napier elevates the conversation for the American Athletic Conference’s player of the year discussion.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:57 PM EDT
Despite an arrest for a driving under the influence charge, Oregon State’s Langston Morris-Walker will play in the Pac-12 tournament, and his addition means the Beavers are the conference’s ultimate sleeper pick for a tourney title.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
Jason Capel was reportedly fired today, which may put one of the best available class of 2014 recruits on the market again
Mar 10, 2014, 5:14 PM EDT
Joel Embiid has missed the last two games, and Bill Self shines some light on when the center will next play.
Mar 10, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
What do you expect from a conference that could feature eight NCAA tournament teams?
Mar 10, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
Creighton and Villanova are the Big East’s two darlings, but which other teams are best positioned to separate themselves from the conference’s middle and earn a bid?
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