Chicago Colleges: Rodney williams
March, 8, 2012
By Myron Medcalf | ESPNChicago.com
INDIANAPOLIS — Reaction from Minnesota's 75-68 overtime victory over Northwestern:
Overview: Northwestern entered its first-round matchup against Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament Thursday needing a win, maybe multiple victories, to earn its first-ever NCAA tournament invitation. But the Wildcats never made it past the Golden Gophers, suffering a loss that damaged their hopes of dancing for the first time.
The Gophers jumped out to a 15-5 lead less than seven minutes in, but the Wildcats were 9-for-20 from beyond the arc before halftime, which helped them climb back into the game and take a 36-34 lead at the break.
Andre Hollins hit a big 3-pointer with 5 minutes to play that tied the game at 57. And he scored on a crucial drive with 55.2 seconds to play that established a 61-61 tie; that shot ultimately sent the game into overtime.
In the extra period, the Gophers played big. Austin Hollins hit a 3-pointer with just under three minutes on the game clock that put Minnesota ahead 68-64. Yet Northwestern was within one in the final 90 seconds of overtime before another Andre Hollins layup extended the lead to three.
A Rodney Williams dunk with 27.9 seconds to go put the Gophers ahead by five.
The two teams split their two conference games, with the Gophers taking a 75-52 victory in Minneapolis on Jan. 22 and Northwestern returning the favor in a 64-53 win in Evanston, Ill., on Feb. 18.
Turning point: Andre Hollins’ 3-pointer near the five-minute mark started a final push by the Gophers, who ended up sending the game into overtime. They were looking for a catalyst in the final minutes and they found one in the freshman.
Key player: Last year, Andre Hollins was a star prep in the state of Tennessee. On Thursday, he looked like a young collegiate star as he carried the Gophers with clutch shots and big plays. He scored a game-high 25 points and went 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.
Key stat: The Gophers outrebounded the Wildcats 41-24. Both teams shot 42.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Miscellaneous: The Gophers played without injured center Ralph Sampson III … The two teams were 16-for-35 combined from beyond the arc in the first half.
What’s next: The Gophers will face Michigan on Friday night. Northwestern will sweat on Selection Sunday as it awaits its postseason destination.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35