Final score from Williams Arena 76-51. One note before my final thoughts here, Sampson came out in the last five minutes or so and showed some fire I haven’t seen in him all year. He ended up scoring nine points on the night and towards the end of the game, was pulling down every ball even close to him. He had a pretty solid block as well. If that Ralph Sampson shows up rather than the one during the first 35 minutes of the game, he could really play a factor. Overall, the win is a win but still the Gophers have a long way to go. I was impressed by Colton Iverson underneath the bucket tonight and as I said Sampson for the last 15 minutes. It’ll be interesting to see what Tubby has to say about Nolen’s performance tonight. He was rock solid offensively and is going to be a big part of this team this year. He was poised and polished all night and he’s going to be an exciting player to watch this season. It’s late, I’m tired, I’m going home. Good night from Williams Arena. —— Some fireworks now as frustrations fly on the behalf of Concordia. On a fast break, Mike Cunningham appeared to have an easy layup until Al Nolen came up and put a hard foul to Cunningham. Cunningham got up and headed right for Nolen with what looked like intentions to tango, but referees and players quickly stepped in before anything could get out of hand. No contact was made, and Nolen was charged with an intentional foul on the play. —— Timeout at 5:35, Minnesota leads it 62-50. I forgot for a bit that men’s college basketball players could dunk the basketball until Colton Iverson finally threw one down at 6:23 much to the pleasure of a slowly thinning crowd here tonight. Nolen drove the lane and cut right, Iverson went left and found himself wide open, taking the dish from Nolen and slamming it home. —— Timeout at 7:19 with Minnesota’s lead cut to just 11 at 58-47. Craig Heimen has been stellar for Concordia and if there is any reason they deserve to be back in this game, its because of him. The 6-5 junior out of Marshall, Minn. has 26 points tonight, most of them from behind the arc. He’s 6-of-12 from three point land tonight. —— Timeout at 11:49, Minnesota up 55-38. This half has the potential to be a slow one with Minnesota already in the bonus. Concordia’s only big man fouled out of the game at 13:40, so the Gophers should, in theory, be able to hang underneath the bucket all night. It looks as though, however, Tubby will opt for getting his more inexperienced guards some play. —— Timeout at 15:24 with Minnesota comfortably leading 48-28. Colton Iverson showing his presense early in the second half. He’s got 6 points in teh second half. He had none in the first. Four of those six came from free throws, he’s 4-of-5 from the line. ———————– Halftime at Williams Arena, Minnesota leads it 39-25. I’ve got a few thoughts after the first half. First and foremost, Al Nolen and Lawrence Westbrook have stolen the show offensively. The two have combined for 24 points here in the first half. After the last exhibition game, Tubby had said he’d like to see less scoring from Nolen and more assists, tonight thats not the case. Secondly, the lack of a big man underneath for the Gophers is pretty obvious. Granted, Concordia doens’t have much height on the floor, but at one point, Minnesota’s tallest man on the floor was the 6-5 Abu-Shamala. During this time, four guards manned the floor for the Gophers. Other than that, it looks like the Gophers shouldn’t have much trouble taking care of the Bears in the second half. Certainly not the prettiest game I’ve watched but who would expect to be peaking in game No. 1? —— Good run for Minnesota coming out of the timeout leads to a Concordia timeout. Minnesota up 39-22 at the 2:46 mark. Busch and Westbrook doing the damage. —— Official timeout at 3:58, Minnesota up 33-22. in the last two minutes we’ve seen 11 free throws which has slowed down the pace of the game quite a bit. Jamal Abu Shamala has been pretty involved since the 6:47 mark, scoring 5. —— Official timout at 6:57. Only a single score since the last update. Minnesota 26, Concordia 18. Minnesota at this point is 5-of-13 from beyond the arc. However, together Westbrook and Nolen are 5-of-6. —— Timeout Concordia at 8:21. Al Nolen still the story with Lawrence Westbrook taking an honorable mention. The three-ball is hitting well. Gophers with the ten point 26-16 lead. —— At the 11:56 mark, Minnesota leads 13-11. Pretty low scoring at this point. My only real thought at this point is how uncomfortable Ralph Sampson looks on the floor right now. He doens’t seem to be very confident under the basket and he’s not playing like he’s 6-11, 220 pounds. He only got one shot off and really didn’t make a very powerful move to the bucket and the ball was tipped away right out of his hands, not even getting to the rim. —— At a 15:51 official timeout, Minnesota leads 8-7. So far its been a three point shoot out between Al Nolen and Concordia’s Craig Haiman. The two hit alternating three’s with Heiman’s hitting at 19:00 and 17:44 while Nolen rebutted at 18:40 and 17:34. —— Not even sure what to say about that one. 77 76 Georgia State found itself up two with 15 seconds left on the clock in the first overtime. Bowling Green brought the ball up the floor as the student section immediately rallied behind the Panthers defense, hoping to end the game. Bowling Green put up and missed a three with four seconds remaining, got its own rebound, shot it to the top of the key where the Falcons shot and drained a three with no ticks left on the clock. Final score: Bowling Green 77 Georgia State 76 ——- Quite a game here pre-Minnesota v. Concordia. Bowling Green was down by 3 with about 12 seconds left on the clock after Georgia State had hit a pair of free throws. The Falcons marched down the court and hit an off balance three to tie the game with 2.1 seconds left to play. We’re heading for overtime in this one, much to the dismay of a packed Minnesota student section, who have been waiting paitently for the start of the Gophers game. Final score coming up after a five-minute overtime. ——
I’d say we’re looking at a little over half an hour until game time at Williams Arena right now [about 7:30]. Nothing all that new too talk about before the tip. Jonathon Williams and Damiam Smith still listed as injured and are not expected to dress for tonight’s game.
Bowling Greena nd Georgia State have game one here which was a 6 p.m. start time, and with a timeout at 10:23, Bowling Green has a 51-49 lead. I’ll be sure to post a final for that one as soon as I’ve got it.
Starting lineups for tonight don’t look to be much of surprise:
Forward Paul Carter; Center Colton Iverson; Guard Blake Hoffarber; Guard Lawrence Westbrook; Guard Al Nolen.
It should be interesting to see how Iverson handles the ball tonight. He’ll likley be the only change in the Gophers’ starting lineup when Williams returns.