Plenty of stats get thrown around about points per game, shooting percentage and overall effectiveness to describe a team’s offense.
But in the Gophers’ four-game losing streak, who has been the most efficient scorer on the floor for coach Tubby Smith?
It’s not Andre Hollins, who leads the team with 14.2 points per game. It’s not prolific scorers Trevor Mbakwe or Rodney Williams. It’s reserve point guard Maverick Ahanmisi.
Here’s a breakdown (across the last four losses) of points per minute for the Gophers’ starters and select reserves:
Ahanmisi: 0.56 pts/min
Andre Hollins: 0.49 pts/min
Mbakwe: 0.35 pts/min
Austin Hollins: 0.34 pts/min
Williams: 0.27 pts/min
Welch: 0.26 pts/min
Coleman: 0.23 pts/min
Eliason: 0.18 pts/min
Smith and the media alike have questioned the Gophers’ bench and whether it has helped or hurt Minnesota through the coach’s often-quirky substitution habits.
Through the four-game losing streak, Smith has held back on “platoon” subbing -- removing all five starters in place for a second team of reserves.
The sixth-year Gophers coach has mixed and matched his best players, but at Monday’s practice he still didn't seem pleased with the bench play.
“I haven’t lost confidence in [the bench],” Smith said. “But we need them to be more productive.”
Ahanmisi has taken advantage of his limited opportunities. The junior hasn’t played more than seven minutes in a game across the last four losses, but he's shot 4-for-7 from beyond the arc in that stretch. He provided a spark in the seven minutes he logged at Wisconsin, hitting two three-pointers in a two-minute stretch.
The veteran coach said his starters’ struggles are part of the reason the bench hasn’t seen more time.
“It’s hard to get guys in the game when you’re turning the ball over and when you’re struggling from behind trying to play catch-up,” Smith said.
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