Minnesota trailed North Dakota 10-5 early Monday night, but those watching could tell the deficit wouldn’t last.
Mo Walker was the reason for that.
The redshirt senior center powered past North Dakota’s Chad Calcaterra on Minnesota’s first possession of the game for an and-one basket. Walker didn’t look back, scoring a career-high 22 points to lead Minnesota to a 92-56 victory.
The Gophers won on Friday and will play North Dakota on Monday night.
Not when his team is second-worst at rebounding in its conference. Not when he has to implement a matchup zone defense if Carlos Morris isn’t on the floor in order to avoid mismatches. Not when it takes a heated halftime speech from the second-year head coach for Minnesota to get past Western Carolina.
Andre Hollins fought through a rough junior season at Minnesota.
One day before facing Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday night, Mo Walker lamented Minnesota’s tendency to play stretches of games conservatively.
“We just need to play more aggressive the whole 40 minutes,” the redshirt senior center said.
The message hasn’t yet reached the Gophers, though, as they pulled out a 84-69 victory against the Demon Deacons with spurts of inspired play and other moments that could leave some fans scratching their heads.
Daquein McNeil, a sophomore basketball player, had his first court appearance on Monday.
Not AP Article
University of Minnesota basketball player Daquein McNeil plans to plead not guilty to charges that claim he assaulted his girlfriend and wants to return to school as soon as possible, his attorney said Monday.
McNeil is currently in custody after allegedly beating his girlfriend with a belt and strangling her last week. He made his first court appearance Monday afternoon.
The sophomore guard is suspended from all team activity until his case is resolved.
The pressure of playing inside Madison Square Garden can be insurmountable for some players. For others, it’s an opportunity to prove their worth.
And when freshman guard Nate Mason played in one of basketball’s great cathedrals, the rookie performed with a poise that seemed beyond his years.
Everyone who watched the Gophers play during the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York City over Thanksgiving weekend saw Mason continue to play with the confidence and intelligence required for every guard in Division I college basketball.
With Daquein McNeil serving an indefinite suspension from all team activity, Minnesota is forced to move forward without a major piece of its rotation.
“It certainly is a very difficult situation for everybody. And when that happens, a lot of guys need to fill roles that they’re not used to filling,” head coach Richard Pitino said. “[We lost] a guy that played 19 minutes a game.”