Gophers revive shooting stroke in easy win

Minnesota shot 38 percent from 3-point range in a 72-43 win over Tennessee State.

Andrew Krammer

The Gophers flipped a switch on their inconsistent shooting Thursday, catching fire from long range in a 72-43 win over Tennessee State at Williams Arena.

After shooting poorly in its first two games, Minnesota (3-0) shot 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range.

Point guard Andre Hollins, who had deferred to his teammates in Minnesota’s first two games, found his shooting stroke Thursday. After starting the season 0-for-8 from deep, Hollins nailed two of his three long-range attempts. He had 13 points and a team-high five assists.

“It’s kind of how the flow of the game works,” Hollins said. “If my teammates struggle, I need to get my shot off. If [they’re] on, I don’t have to look for my shot.”

Both Austin Hollins and Andre Hollins were hot from beyond the arc.

Austin Hollins set up Andre Hollins for his first three-pointer of the season five minutes into the game.

“I just told him to keep shooting,” Austin Hollins said. “We’re going to need him out there, not just as a point guard.”

Jumpers have never been the focus of Tubby Smith’s offense with the Gophers, and that held true Thursday despite the hot shooting.

Rodney Williams had five dunks and led all scorers with 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds. The senior and co-captain required three stitches above his right eye after catching an elbow sometime in the second half.

Williams said the Gophers can fall back on their defense when their offense isn’t clicking. Minnesota kept its high-energy defense roaring Thursday, holding the Tigers to 24 percent shooting, tying a season-best.

The Gophers have held their first three opponents to an average of 45 points per game this season.

“Usually your defense is farther along than offense this type of year,” Smith said.

Andre Hollins said he’s not entirely happy with his team’s position before it faces Duke on Thanksgiving Day in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

“I want to see that concentration throughout the entire game,” Andre Hollins said. “When we get the opponent down, we just need to keep our foot on their necks and just keep going,” Hollins said.

Minnesota faces Richmond on Sunday night before heading to the Bahamas next week.