Live Blog: Gophers Men’s Basketball v. Northern Illinois

Marco LaNave

The Gophers go for their fourth-straight home win in their last game before finals week against Northern Illinois of the Mid-American Conference.  The Huskies are playing their third Big Ten opponent of the season.  They lost at Northwestern on Nov. 13 and at Illinois on Nov. 17.

Final – Minnesota (8-3) wins its fourth straight at home. GOPHERS 89, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 48.

1:18 2nd – Hoffarber was put back in the game with 2:59 remaining to go for the record, and he made it on his first attempt from straight on moments ago. The Williams Arena crowd roared in approval. He was just taken out and finished with a career-high 26 points, a career-high nine field goals and a game-high six rebounds.

7:01 2nd – Hoffarber set a career high with 23 points when he made his seventh 3-point field goal about three minutes ago. That ties the school record for 3-pointers made. GOPHERS 74, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 37.

10:38 2nd – Hoffarber is truly back, as he made another 3-point shot moments ago. That ties his career high for made 3’s. He is one away from his career high of eight field goals made against Morgan State last Tuesday. He is 1 point away from his career high set against Colorado State on Dec. 8, 2007. GOPHERS 65, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 34.

15:01 2nd – Hoffarber returned to the bench in full uniform a moment ago. The Gophers probably won’t need him to play the rest of the game, but if he does, that will obviously encourage the fans at Williams Arena. GOPHERS 52, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 32.

16:57 2nd – Hoffarber is back to earth — maybe even too far. He missed his first 3-point attempt of the second half and then limped off the court after being injured in front of the Gophers bench with 18:45 to play in the game. Sampson has made two baskets to start the half. GOPHERS 50, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 27.

Halftime – Once again, the Gophers’ hot shooting start has been the story. They have made 17 of 30 field goals in the first half, including eight of 10 3-point field goals. They have made their last four (by four different players) from long distance. Hoffarber and Westbrook have combined for 28 of the 35 points by Minnesota’s starters. The Gophers have allowed the Huskies to get eight offensive rebounds, while the Gophers have only 12 defensive boards. Northern Illinois has 11 defensive rebounds to Minnesota’s three. GOPHERS 44, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 23.

3:57 1st – The first team has been phenomenal from the field, making 13 of 17 field goal attempts. In addition to Hoffarber’s 17 points, Westbrook has 11. Nolen has four of Minnesota’s 12 assists. Only rebounding seems to be an issue, as the Huskies are betaing the Gophers 14-11 on the boards. But when they have made 15 of 25 field goals it doesn’t seem to matter right now. GOPHERS 39, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 21.

7:50 1st – It is the Blake Hoffarber show. He has made five 3-point shots in a row, and on the last possession he had extra defensive pressure, so he passed elsewhere. Sampson shot a long jumper, and Hoffarber (who else?) got the rebound and layup. He has 17 points so far. He is one short of his career high in 3-point field goals made (six at Ohio State on Feb. 7 last season and against Colorado State on Dec. 8, 2007). GOPHERS 27, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 14.

11:50 1st – The Gophers second team has made one of five shots (one of four by junior guard Devron Bostick), while Northern Illinois has made one basket. GOPHERS 18, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 10.

14:12 1st – Blake Hoffarber is feeling it. After missing his first 3-point attempt on the Gophers’ second possession, he has made 3-point shots on each of the last four possessions. He has 12 points, a rebound, an assist and a steal already. The second team is in now for Minnesota. Yes, Hoffarber is being taken out after four-straight 3-point makes. GOPHERS 16, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 8.

Starting Lineups:

Northern Illinois Huskies (1-5):

F Sr. Najul Ervin
C Jr. Sean Kowal
G Jr. Darion Anderson
G Jr. Xavier Silas
G So. Mike DiNunno

Minnesota Gophers (7-3):

F Sr. Damian Johnson
C So. Ralph Sampson III
G Jr. Blake Hoffarber
G Jr. Al Nolen
G Sr. Lawrence Westbrook