Gophers Defeat Fairfield 67-57

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota defeated Fairfield 67-57 Thursday evening at Williams Arena. The win moved the Gophers to 3-0 on the season.

Trevor Mbakwe had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, going 16 for 18 from the free-throw line to give the Gophers enough for an ugly 67-57 victory over Fairfield on Thursday night.

Minnesota (3-0) committed 23 turnovers and was limited mostly to Mbakwe's free throws and a handful of putback dunks, but that was all the offense it needed to stop the Stags (1-2). Rakim Sanders and Ryan Olander had 14 points each for Fairfield, which made just 2 of 16 attempts from 3-point range and turned the ball over 20 times. The Stags missed eight of their 23 free throws, squandering an opportunity to knock off a major-conference team on the road.

Mbakwe has posted a double-double in each of Minnesota's three games. This was his first 20-10 performance.


Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith:

On Mbakwe's efficiency at the line:
"That's a real plus because now guys are confident. Trevor is physical and he is going to get fouled. So we need to give him the ball and he can go get it. Having a big man who can make free throws, that is a big plus."

On improvements:
"There are always something that you look back on and know you should of worked on it in more in practice. One thing we didn't work on much was the jump stop. But you would hope a Division I player would know the jump stop."

Minnesota Guard Austin Hollins

On his two dunks today:
"I had a lot of energy. Coach is always telling us to crash the board, so I'm trying to do more of that. I went to the basket and I just got in and boxed out. I happened to have a little lane to get in there. The second one I just had a lot of energy, trying to get the team pumped up, had a fast break. It felt good."

On why it was such a sloppy game:
"I think just rushing. They put that pressure on us a little bit and I think we just rushed a little too much. We've just got to be patient and move the ball around, take a few extra passes, and we'll be alright."

Minnesota Forward Trevor Mbakwe

On his improvements from the line from last year:
"That was first thing I did this offseason. I missed too many free throws last year. I know teams are going to foul me the way I play, and I need to make them pay for those fouls from the line. I think that was key for this game, how I would make them--especially how ugly the game was. I think that kind of helped us down the stretch and helped keep the lead to a certain point. It let us get back into the game."

On changing his free throw mechanics from last year:
"I played with them a little bit. Coach got me to set the ball higher. I was offsetting it lower, so it was a lot of range and a lot of movement that I was doing too much."

Quotes from U of M Athletic Comm.

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