Rebounding Advantage Lifts Gophers to Victory

Minnesota crashed the boards, out-rebounding the Michigan Wolverines on the way to a 69-64 win, and their first Big Ten road victory.

Game Recap

Minnesota came into the game a two game conference win streak, looking to end a four game skid against the Wolverines. Michigan came out ready to play, jumping to an early lead under the strong play of freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr. The Gophers countered with strong shooting, solid low post play, and a bevy of rebounds.

Minnesota went into the half with a 31-29 lead. The big story of the first for the Gophers was the sprained ankle of Al Nolen. Nolen played only 11 minutes before his injury and was forced to sit the rest of game, requiring Maverick Ahanmisi and Blake Hoffarber to take over at point guard.

Even with Nolen sitting on the bench, the Gophers came out with a strong start to the second, extended their lead to double digits with a 14-0 that started late in the first half. Both teams traded blows, with Michigan taking the lead in the second with some nice shooting from deep.

As a team, the Wolverines nailed 12 shots from behind the arc. Michigan's offense slowed against the Gophers 2-3 zone and Minnesota took advantage, creating a lead through strong post play from Trevor Mbakwe, Ralph Sampson and Colton Iverson.

Minnesota had a double-digit lead late in the game, which Michigan chipped away at but were unable to battle back when the Gophers hit their free throws, sealing a victory in Ann Arbor for the Maroon and Gold.

Inside the Game

The story of the game was a 37-11 rebounding advantage held by the Gophers. The size of Minnesota was too much to handle for the smaller Wolverines. Colton Iverson had nine boards, Trevor Mbakwe had eight and Ralph Sampson ended with seven.

The other telling stat of the game was the 17 turnovers by Minnesota. The Gophers had trouble keeping a hold of the ball while only forcing the Wolverines into seven giveaways. Despite the turnovers, Minnesota did not lose focus and countered whenever Michigan made a run.

Blake Hoffarber played extremely well, scoring 13 points and adding six assists and five rebounds. He also did not turn the ball over once while taking over point guard duties for Al Nolen.

Freshman Tim Hardaway kept the Wolverines in the game with 20 points and four made 3-pointers. Trevor Mbakwe had another dominant game coming off the bench with 13 points and eight rebounds, spurring to the Gophers to a victory.

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