Gophers Cruise Past Demon Deacons

In this year's B1G/ACC Challenge, Minnesota traveled to Wake Forest and through a strong shooting effort, the Gophers walked away with a convincing 84-69 victory

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Minnesota coach Richard Pitino always knew Andre Hollins could shoot pretty well.

Just not like this.

Hollins hit a career-high seven 3-pointers and scored a season-best 27 points in the Golden Gophers' 84-69 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

"You certainly can't expect him to hit seven 3s," Pitino said. "That would be nice, but that's unrealistic."

Carlos Morris added 15 points and Joey King had 14 for the Gophers (5-2), who shot 49 percent -- 57 percent in the second half -- and overcame a season-high-tying 20 turnovers by hitting a season-best 12 3-pointers.

Minnesota hit its first seven shots of the second half and spent most of the rest of the night protecting a double-figure lead.

Miles Overton had 14 points for the Demon Deacons (4-4).

They had 18 turnovers, shot 41 percent and -- for the second straight game, both losses -- were unable to get top scorer Devin Thomas going.

Thomas entered averaging a team-best 11.7 points but was coming off a scoreless, 0-for-7 performance four nights earlier in a discouraging home loss to Delaware State. He finished this one with eight rebounds but just four points on 1-of-4 shooting and didn't play again after drawing a technical foul with 8:51 remaining.

New coach Danny Manning compared Thomas to Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, saying "his emotions kind of make him the player that he is, but he's got to go out there and continue to make the hustle plays and plays like that."

When this game was in doubt, Minnesota couldn't miss.

The Gophers opened the second half with a 16-3 run that finally gave them some separation.

"It wasn't a whole lot, really, that I said" at halftime, Pitino said. "I just told them to calm down and sustain the run." Hollins hit two 3s in about a minute, and King's wide-open 3 from the corner -- his second during the burst -- stretched the lead to 48-34.

Hollins stretched the lead to 66-48 with another 3 with 8 1/2 minutes to play, and Wake Forest didn't get closer than 12 after that.

Codi Miller-McIntyre and freshman Mitchell Wilbekin added 10 points apiece for the Demon Deacons, who erased their only double-figure deficit of the first half by reeling off nine straight points before the break. Miller-McIntyre's drive about a second before the buzzer pulled them to 32-31.

After that, it was all Minnesota.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

The Minnesota coach was asked after the game how regularly the Gophers use their full-court pressure, and he quipped: "Last name's Pitino." His father, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, built a Hall of Fame career with his version of the full-court press -- and the Demon Deacons will face it next month when the Cardinals visit for their first ACC game.

STAT LINE

Morris finished with eight steals -- the most by Gophers player in one game since Melvin Newbern set the school record with nine against Rider on Jan. 3, 1990. "I want him to be really, really excited by that," Pitino said.

TIP-INS

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons' most experienced players -- Miller-McIntyre, Thomas and Madison Jones -- combined for 10 turnovers. Wake Forest was just 18 of 31 from the free-throw line.

Minnesota: The Gophers attempted a season-high 24 3s. This was just their second trip to North Carolina for the Challenge and their first since 2001 -- when they lost at Wake Forest.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest plays its ACC opener at North Carolina State on Saturday night.

Minnesota is home against Western Carolina on Friday night.


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