Tubby’s Pumped, Gophers on a Two Game Winning Streak

Posted: January 17, 2012 by Kodi in BBall, Gopher Redemption, NCAA

Joe Coleman wins Big Ten freshman of the week with his performance against PSU

The Gophers have now won 2 Big Ten games in a row something they haven’t done in a while

Could this be the beginning of a turnaround?

The Minnesota Golden Gophers traveled to Penn State to face the Nittany Lions just a few days after they upset Indiana at home. It was their first Big Ten victory and the Gophers traveled to State College in hopes of increasing their conference record to 2-4. Both the Gophers and Nittany Lions were 1-4 in the Big Ten heading into Sunday’s matchup but Minnesota was 13-5 while Penn State was 9-9. Minnesota has lost the last 2 games against Penn State and has a 6-4 record against them while under Head Coach Tubby Smith. It is Minnesota’s 4th road game in conference play and will look forward to playing only their 3rd home game against a Big Ten opponent when they welcome Northwestern to the Barn, but first things first.

Minnesota’s worst loss of the season was in their last home game when the Purdue Boilermakers blew the Gophers out by 23 points. Penn State has one solid victory all season and it was when they beat that same Purdue team by 20 points on their home court. Other than that the PSU kitties don’t have much to hang their hat on averaging under 64 points a game and a .388 field goal percentage. Minnesota seemed like it would rely on big men Rodney Williams and Ralph Sampson III but great guard play has alleviated some of that pressure from the guys down low.

Tubby Smith has been changing the starting guard for the last few games and after starting Austin Hollins against the Hoosiers he allowed Joe Coleman his 3rd career start against the Nittany Lions. Good thing he did because the freshman guard has a career high 23 points and constantly attacked PSU’s zone defense. Coleman finished the game 5-8 from the field but 13 of 14 from the free throw line and pulled down 5 rebounds and recorded 1 assist, he did however have a team high 4 turnovers and leaves much to be desired on defense.

It was the first game of the season that four of the five Minnesota starters recorded double digit points. Besides Coleman’s game high 23 Rodney Williams finished the game with 15 points, 8 rebounds while shooting 8-11 from the free throw line. Guards Julian Welch and Austin Hollins were 4-5 from three point range and combined for 27 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Sampson was the only start that didn’t score more than 10 recording just 4 points but had a season high 5 blocks along with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Elliott Eliason had the most time off of the bench made the only shot he attempted but missed 2 of his 4 free throw opportunities and pulled down a team high 6 rebounds.

42 of PSU’s 66 points were scored by two players guards Tim Frazier and Cammeron Woodyard. The two were 11-29 from the field, 5-13 from three point range but 15-16 from the line. The entire PSU team was 7-41 from the field and 2-13 from the three point arc, shooting 30 and 29% respectively. The Lions did however out rebound the Gophers 31 to 29 and pulled down 15 offensive rebounds to Minnesota’s 3. PSU’s biggest lead was 23-15 with 7:27 left in the first half but a 18-3 run gave the Gophers back the lead and they never gave it back after that. Minnesota went on to win the game 80-66 and won two Big Ten games for the first time in 3 years and welcome a weak Wildcats team to Dinkytown this week.

 

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