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.”
The Gophers went into the locker room at halftime with a 2-point lead over the Seminoles in their first road game of the season on Monday. As the second half progressed, the lead slipped away. Minnesota (6-1) was outscored 44-34 in the second half and lost 75-67 to Florida State (6-1) in Tallahassee, Fla. on Nov. 28.
No. 16 Minnesota went into its dual on Saturday with the intent of upsetting No. 1 Oklahoma State. The Gophers left the matchup with their goal unaccomplished.
The Gophers missed a chance to bring Paul Bunyan’s Axe back to Minnesota for the first time in 13 years. Minnesota (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten) led 17-7 against No. 6 Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2) at halftime, but gave up 24 unanswered points in the second half to lose 31-17 in Madison, Wisconsin Saturday to mark their 13th straight loss against the Badgers — the longest streak in the 126-year history between the two rivals. The Gophers finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten West. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t get it done,” said head coach Tracy Claeys.
For this weekly column, the Minnesota Daily will interview someone knowledgeable about Minnesota’s next opponent. Andrew Tucker, the football features writer for one of Wisconsin's student newspapers the Daily Cardinal, was interviewed this week. Tucker is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been covering the football team for two years.
The Gophers were missing the Big Ten’s leading shot blocker in center Reggie Lynch from their lineup, but the team rose to the occasion defensively. Minnesota (6-0) held Southern Illinois (3-3) to 31 percent from field-goal range as the Gophers defeated the Salukis 57-45 on Nov. 25 at Williams Arena to remain undefeated.
Minnesota played a major-conference team for the second consecutive game and the Gophers came out undefeated once again. The Gophers (5-0) defeated Arkansas by a final score of 85-71 in its fifth consecutive double-digit victory Tuesday at the Williams Arena.