There was a lot of grumbling about whether or not Eastern Washington could be a nonmajor team that upsets the Gophers. Minnesota has had a tough time with several of its nonmajor opponents (Bowling Green and Colorado State, especially), and the Eagles have an extremely talented guard in Benny Valentine, who transferred in from Texas Tech.
After one half, though, that doesn’t loks so good. The Gophers lead 47-29, slowly pulling away all half. Colton Iverson led the Gophers with 14 points, showing some touch down low with a bunch of spinning hooks and other assorted 3-foot shots. He is an impressive 7-for-9 from the field, which shows you why Tubby is putting such an emphasis on creating those shots down low.
Valentine has 11, but has been just 4-for-10 from the field. Al Nolen, Jr. has done a good job wrapping him up, though he’s going to score either way.
As good as Iverson has looked in the post, he has still looked like a true freshman on the boards. He doesn’t have a single defensive rebounded and has been manhandled by EW big men Brandon Moore and Mark Dunn. The same has pretty much gone for Ralph Sampson III, who had just seven minutes in the first half, though he did have one impressive offensive rebound and putback. Rebounding has been a spotty subject for Minnesota because of injuries to Damian Johnson and Jonathan Williams — Williams is still out and Johnson is playing in his second game back — and Iverson and Sampson haven’t filled the void.