The new year has been good to the Gophers so far. Minnesota (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) earned its third consecutive win of 2017 with a 78-68 victory over Ohio State (10-6, 0-3 Big Ten) on Jan. 8.
Gophers head football coach Tracy Claeys has been fired, multiple outlets reported Tuesday. Claeys’ replacement has not yet been announced. The decision comes shortly after the team staged a two-day boycott on all football activities including the Holiday Bowl in protest of the suspension of 10 players for their connection to an alleged sexual assault. Claeys, football head coach since the middle of the 2015 season, publicly supported the boycott after players announced it Dec.
Nate Mason missed an off-balance jump shot for what could’ve been a huge win as time expired in front of a packed Williams Arena crowd. The 11,407 fans in attendance witnessed Minnesota (12-2, 0-1 Big Ten) lose its Big Ten opener against Michigan State (9-5, 1-0 Big Ten) 75-74 in overtime on Dec. 27. “We got to find a way to win it,” said head coach Richard Pitino. “You know these games always seem to come down to one or two possessions. Give Michigan State credit; they just found a way to win and we did not.”
The Gophers opened conference play today against the Michigan State Spartans. Here's three observations through the game's first half.
While the Gophers were outsized once again against Northern Illinois Sunday, the team still outplayed the Huskies down low. Center Reggie Lynch had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to help Minnesota (10-1) defeat Northern Illinois (4-5) 77-57 Sunday at Williams Arena. “[Lynch] has got a long way to go, and he’s got to be coached,” said head coach Richard Pitino.
The Gophers are shooting 30 percent from the field.
The Gophers’ backcourt rose to the occasion in the team’s win over Georgia Southern Friday. Guards Dupree McBrayer, Nate Mason and Akeem Springs combined for 48 points to help Minnesota (9-1) rout Georgia Southern (4-5) 86-49 on Dec. 9 at Williams Arena.
Three observations from first half.
Minnesota went into halftime against Vanderbilt down 25-24, and the team did something about the deficit right away. Minnesota (7-1) opened up the second half with a 15-2 run, leading to a 56-52 victory over Vanderbilt (4-4) Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “Good win, found a way to grind it out from a defensive standpoint,” head coach Richard Pitino told reporters.
Guard Akeem Springs had to adjust when he arrived at Minnesota this season. Springs is averaging 19 minutes per game for Minnesota this year compared to his 31.9 minutes per game in his last season at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “It definitely took some getting used to,” Springs said. “Just knowing my minutes, trying to make the most of the minutes that I have.”