Men’s basketball-Minnesota vs. Bowling Green State

Brian Johnson

Pregame The Gophers head into tonight’s game vs. Bowling Green with their first win of the season over Concordia St. Paul. A solid 76-51 win, Minnesota was again lead by sophomore point guard Al Nolen and junior guard Lawrence Westbrook. Look for key contributions again tonight against Bowling Green. Bowling Green shouldn’t be marked off however. The Falcons pulled off their first win over of the NABC classic last night prior to the Minnesota/Concordia game, defeating Georgia State 77-76. For the Gopher fans that arrived early, it was quite the game to watch. The Falcons came from behind in the final minute of play, hitting two three pointers in the final 15 seconds to force overtime. It was back and forth in overtime, but another three pointer by sophomore guard Joe Jakubowski at the buzzer gave Bowling Green the victory. Jakubowski scored 24 last night and look for key contributions again tonight. The overtime game pushed the Minnesota/Concordia game back at least half an hour. Another exciting NABC game prior to the Gopher game between Concordia St. Paul and Georgia State. With 10 seconds to play Concordia was down 65-63 and missed both free throws off a foul. Georgia State was subsequently fouled twice, going 2 for 4 at the line. With 9 and a half seconds left, Georgia State was up 67-63, a comfortable lead. Concordia fired up a hopeless three with a few seconds left. Final score 67-63 Georgia State. Overall though, the teams in this tournament can play. At one point during this game, a Georgia State player misfired on a jumper, only to be brought back down with an emphatic dunk by a foward Panther player. —- It’s all smiles and a loose atmosphere here at Williams as the Gophers face off vs. Bowling Green. A good crowd and an energetic student section should give the Gophers even more momentum tonight. Starters tonight are Westbrook, Hoffarber, Nolen, Iverson, and Carter. —– For the first minute and a half of play, the Gophers controlled the ball offensively. They pulled down 2 offensive rebounds to keep the ball on their side of the court. Iverson tipped in a ball going in, and interference was called. An offensive fould was called on Minnesota soon after. Bowling Green struck first with a three pointer by guard Brian Moten. Hoffarber responded with a three of his own. Bowling Green leads 5-3 at timeout (15:27). ——— After the break, the Gophers came out with two solid baskets. One a fast pace breakaway lead by Nolen, to Westbrook down low, and finally to Busch for the layup. Minnesota held the Falcons on a drive forcing the shot clock to expire as Bowling Green threw up a desperation shot. On the rebound, Hoffarber was brought down hard. A timeout was called at 12:57 after Nolen came up with another steal and a Ralph Sampson III putback off Nolen’s missed layup. Sampson definitely looks more comfortable tonight. ——- Timeout called at 11:37 with Gophers up 16-8. Guard Travis Busch is playing well on both sides, currently with 4 points. After the break, Busch fired another pull up jump shot from the free throw line. Minnesota playing solid defense on the Bowling Green end, not giving up anything. Multiple blocks came from Iverson. Gophers lead 18-10. Senior Jamal Abu-Shamala also added a three pointer of his own. Timeout called at 7:44. Minnesota leads 23-12. Nolen still leading the offense, despite having no points. But the defense has really stepped up so far, holding the Falcons to only 12. —— Freshman Devron Bostick also playing well, hitting a three from the corner. Right now the former Junior College player of the year has 6 points. Westbrook scores to make the lead even wider 29-12. Timeout called at 5:16. —— Nolen is still working the offense, pushing the ball on every play. Still, he remains scoreless with 3:40 to play. Freshman Colton Iverson still playing aggressively on the defensive end, while Westbrook is now working the offense. A mid-range jumpshot and a pull up three pointer on subsequent plays puts him at 11 points right now. Timeout is called at 3:11. ———– After a missed pass from Busch, Iverson goes down hard soon after the break. Iverson showing a lot of drive and focus. A great play came together as Westbrook dished it to Iverson who dished it right back to Iverson for the layup. Very well executed. Timeout (32.5) called by Minnesota as Bowling Green makes a late first half push, narrowing the gap 36-22. Westbrook glared into the eyes of his defender before missing a midrange jumpshot as the first half ended. ——— Score at half: 36-22 Gophers. The most surprising thing about this first half, even with the lead, is that Al Nolen is scoreless. Like I said before, he’s still running the offense, calling the plays and helping his teammates keep a comfortable lead. Nolen also has an impressive 4 steals. Still, this is quite the difference compared to last night, where Nolen lead the Gophers with 13 points at half. Instead, Westbrook has 13 tonight. Guards Devron Bostick and Travis Busch each have 6. Although the Falcons have started to make a run here, Minnesota has been fairly dominant on the defensive end, holding Bowling Green to just over 25 percent from the field. Colton Iverson has truly been explosive on the defensive end. He already has 7 blocks for the night. ————- Iverson starting to pick it up on the offensive end now too. He currently has 4 points. Foward Paul Carter added 2 huge blocks to his sole block in the first half. Both times the crowd went crazy as Carter was visibly pumped. Nolen finally scores his first bucket of the night with a left-handed layup. The Falcons aren’t backing down right now though, keeping the score within 12. Timeout is called at 15:13, the score 42-30. ————- Good cheers for Carter, Iverson as they get replaced. Bowling Green guard Darryl Clements cuts the lead to 10 with 14 minutes remaining; Minnesota still on a cold streak. Clements has another bank shot to cut the lead to 8 (42-34). Things are looking a little shaky. Clements leads the Falcons with 15. Nolen comes up with another great steal, dishes it to Jamal Abu-Shamala for a corner jumpshot. This brings the Gopher lead to 11. A pretty low scoring game s the Gophers have continued to hold Bowling Green. Timeout called at 11:03, score is 45-36 Minnesota. ———- Bowling Green now within 9 after a beautiful floater from point guard Joe Jakubowski. Keep in mind, the Gophers have been ahead by more than 20 in this game. Another floater by Jakubowski brings the Falcons within 7. No one seems to be too concerned, but the atmosphere seems a little more tense, with Tubby more vocal on the sidelines. Abu-Shamala responds with a turnaround layup. Hoffarber finally hits a three, bringing the lead to 52-40 with 8 minutes to play. Timeout at 7:46. ———— Nolen still only with 4 points, lead again up to 12 after Falcon basket. A three from Bowling Green brings it within 7 as Colton Iverson goes to the line. He misses both way off mark. Jakubowski cuts the lead to 5, the closest the Falcons have been in a while. A foul by Hoffarber brings foward Erik Marshall to the line, who hits 1 of 2. It’s a 4 point game as Nolen misses as the shot clock expires. Paul Carter, however is fouled and hit one. Iverson comes up with a huge block as the fans go crazy again. Clements hits another corner jumpshot to bring the Falcons within 3. But Abu-Shamala responds on the other side of the court with his own jumpshot. Timeout at 3:22; score 57-52 Gophers. ———– Bowling Green’s Clements leads with 17 points, the leader for the Falcons tonight. It’s a three point game again as Bowling Green hits two from the line. Nolen is definitely trying to keep up hte offense. Westbrook eases some of the tension with a steal and layup, forcing a timeout (2:26). Score is 59-54 Gophers. ——– With 2:26 remaining, the Gophers, lead by Westbrook (15 points), are ready to close this one out. Jakubowski misses two floaters as an offensive foul is called on the Falcons. Iverson shoots two, makes both with ease. Timeout is called at 1:27; score is 61-4 Minnesota. ———- A three pointer by guard Brian Moten brings the Falcons within 4, but Westbrook hits both from the line after being fouled. Jakubowski has another layup off the board. The socre is 63-59. Westbrook is fouled again and again hits both free throws. Paul Carter is fouled with 34.1 remaining and hits both. Score is 67-59. This one is over. Iverson had a tremendous night and is in the Gopher record books with 17 blocks for the night. Overall a good fight in the second half from the Falcons. Final score 68-61. ————- I think if the Bowling Green Falcons are going to remember some things about their experience at the NABC, it will include the following things: -A stunning victory Friday night over Georgia State -Often cutting the lead to within 3 points late in the game against a DI Big Ten Team -The performance of guard Darryl Clements Saturday night against the Gophers