Gophers get statement win, beat FSU

Gophers get statement win, beat FSU

Jace Frederick

Florida State’s only two losses came against two top-15 teams when it headed into its matchup with Minnesota.

Now, there’s an outlier.

An unranked Gophers team looked like a top-tier squad Tuesday night, and it put away the Seminoles 71-61 at Williams Arena.

“Of all of our games we’ve played, that’s the toughest we’ve played,” Gophers head coach Richard Pitino said. “To be able to get that type of win … they showed a lot of heart.”

But the flow of the game was mired by an absurd amount of fouls — particularly in the second half.

There were 52 fouls whistled between the two teams — 31 in the final 20 minutes. The teams combined to take 67 free throws, and four players fouled out.

The NCAA implemented new, stricter hand-checking rules before the season, drawing criticism across the country. But this game was the Gophers’ first negative encounter with the
rules.

“They called it tight,” junior center Elliott Eliason said. “You’ve just got to adjust. … It turned into a lot of a free-throw-shooting game.”

Pitino has previously supported the rules but didn’t display the same sentiment during the game, ripping off his suit jacket and necktie at various points during the second half.

The Gophers put to rest any question of a Hawaii hangover early in their first game back on the mainland following last week’s Maui Invitational.

Minnesota jumped on the Seminoles early and took a 23-12 lead with 9:09 left in the first half.

The Gophers took a 33-27 lead into the locker room on the strength of 13 first-half points from junior guard Andre
Hollins.

Hollins finished the night with a team-high 21 points. He was closely followed by senior guard Austin Hollins, who scored 16 points.

“Me and Andre know what we have to do when we’re on the floor,” Austin Hollins said. “When we’re out there, we just try to make our teammates better.

“If it means making plays for them or going and getting a bucket … [we] just [try] to lead the right way and get our teammates motivated.”

The Gophers’ win came on a night when they didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. They only hit on 34 percent of their shots, but they won the game on the defensive end.

Minnesota forced 17 turnovers while committing just six.

The Gophers dealt all night with Florida State’s formidable frontcourt that featured multiple seven-footers. But the Seminoles only outrebounded a much smaller Minnesota squad 36-32.

“It was definitely just getting after it,” Austin Hollins said. “If they’re not boxing out, then we can get in there and sneak a few rebounds here and there.”

Minnesota’s toughness was exemplified early in the first half when senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi chipped his tooth while diving to the floor for a loose ball.

Ahanmisi didn’t return, but he looked OK in the locker room after the game.

The Gophers hit the court again on Saturday when they take on New Orleans.