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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Minnesota 58, Wisconsin 53

By Myron Medcalf


MINNEAPOLIS -- A quick look at Minnesota’s 58-53 win over No. 20 Wisconsin at Williams Arena on Thursday night.

Overview: This was a very ugly game in the first half. Minnesota started 2-for-12 from the field. But Wisconsin wasn’t much better. The Badgers failed to record a field goal for nearly eight-plus minutes (15:58 to 7:18 remaining before halftime).

With 10 minutes to go until the break, the Badgers held a 12-4 lead. But Wisconsin’s offensive drought and Minnesota’s 3-pointers (Andre Hollins hit two and Austin Hollins hit one as the Gophers rallied during an 18-12 run) brought the Gophers back.

The two teams went back and forth in the second half. But Minnesota surged after Rodney Williams scored on a tip-in, drew a foul and hit the free throw with 14:32 to play in regulation, a sequence that tied the game at 33. A pair of Andre Hollins free throws gave Minnesota its first lead, 35-33. A Trevor Mbakwe dunk extended Minnesota’s lead to four.

But the Badgers outscored Minnesota 14-6 over the next seven minutes. No team cracked 50 points in regulation.

Turning Point: The Badgers and Gophers battled until the final seconds of regulation, when the Badgers led 49-47. With 22 seconds to go, a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/player/_/id/45635/mike-bruesewitz">Mike Bruesewitz drew an offensive foul on Austin Hollins during a fast break. But on the next play, Bruesewitz committed a turnover when he ran the baseline on a dead ball. Joe Coleman drew a foul and hit the free throws to tie the game with 17.4 seconds to go in the second half. Traevon Jackson brought the ball up the floor and ended the game on a horribly off-balance jump shot that clanked off the backboard and ensured an extra period.

Andre Hollins hit a clutch 3-pointer with 3:40 to play that put the Gophers up by three in overtime. They never relinquished that lead. Mbakwe, a 62 percent free throw shooter entering the game, hit a pair of free throws with 1:32 to go to put the Gophers ahead by five.

Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker hit two free throws to cut that deficit to three. But Andre Hollins collected two more free throws, which extended the edge again. He later hit two more from the charity stripe to give the Gophers a 58-53 final tally.

Key Stat: 2-for-12. That’s how Minnesota started. The Gophers dug out of that hole. Also, the Badgers failed to hit a field goal after Ben Brust’s jumper with 6:13 to play until Jared Berggren scored on a late layup with 10.2 seconds remaining in overtime.

Key Player: Andre Hollins hit a big 3-pointer in overtime to give the Gophers a lead that they never lost. He also hit two free throws with 17 seconds to play that preserved that edge. He had 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Miscellaneous: Rodney Williams grimaced and held his left shoulder throughout the evening. He even left the game and asked trainers to look at it during the second half. Give him credit for playing through the pain. ... Every time I see Bruesewitz, I wonder why the Gophers didn’t make a more serious run at the Litchfield, Minn., native. ... Dekker is still young, but he’s going to be very good in the coming years.

Next game: Wisconsin will face No. 13 Ohio State in Madison, Wis., on Sunday. Minnesota will face Iowa on the road on Sunday.