Live Blog: Gophers Men’s Basketball v. Minn.-Duluth

by Marco LaNave

Gophers men’s basketball is finally here, with an exhibition Thursday night against Minnesota-Duluth at Williams Arena.

Final – GOPHERS 114, MN-DULUTH 47

2:43 2nd – Duluth has started to make some 3-pointers, with seven made in the second half.

4:57 2nd – Dawson makes his first two free-throw attempts.

5:34 2nd – Freshman forward Dominique Dawson enters the game.

5:34 2nd – Junior Blake Hoffarber had missed his first couple of 3-point attempts, but hit one as part of a 7-point spurt in the last two minutes. He now has 9 points. GOPHERS 97, MN-DULUTH 34.

11:05 2nd – The non-starters (Williams, Hoffarber, Joseph, Cobbs, Iverson) have played for nearly the last five minutes. Joseph has added four second-half points and has 12. GOPHERS 77, MN-DULUTH 22.

17:07 2nd – Gophers roll out of the locker room, scoring the first 10 points to prompt a UMD timeout. Westbroook made three layups in transition and has 13 points. GOPHERS 60, MN-DULUTH 13.

Halftime – Williams has become a quick crowd-favorite in the final minutes of the half. After being fouled on his first layup attempt, he scored 7 points in the final five minutes, including a layup off of a steal, a 3-pointer that incited chants of his name in the student section, and a dunk in which he soared over a few players under the basket for a dunk that got “oohs” from the whole crowd. He led all bench players with 12 minutes. Johnson leads the team with 12 points and 5 of the team’s 13 steals. GOPHERS 50, MN-DULUTH 13.

4:59 1st – Gophers have gotten to the line several times, but missed five of their 13 free-throw attempts. UMD has not been to the stripe. GOPHERS 34, MN-DULUTH 13.

9:47 1st – Freshman guard Justin Cobbs substitutes for Nolen.

11:12 1st – A botched timeout call by MN-Duluth results in an easy in-bound-pass interception by Johnson for his third bucket of the game. GOPHERS 16, MN-DULUTH 6.

13:04 1st – Williams is fouled as he goes up for his first layup. He makes the second of two free throws. GOPHERS 12, MN-DULUTH 6.

Three Gophers enter the game. Guards Devoe Joseph (So.) and Blake Hoffarber (Jr.) and center Colton Iverson (So.) come onto the court. Freshman Rodney Williams enters for Sampson after the latter makes 1-of-2 free throws. GOPHERS 9, MN-DULUTH 3.

15:33 1st – Gophers have scored the last six points. With UMD up 3-2, Sampson hit a jumper and a free throw. Johnson later cleaned up with a dunk on a later possession. They’ve given up the ball a couple of times, but haven’t had too much trouble getting off shots.

18:01 1st – Westbrook broke away for a basket on the Gophers’ third possession. On the next Duluth possession, Ninham hits a three-pointer.

In a pregame ceremony, Athletics Director Joel Maturi and basketball coaches Pam Borton and Tubby Smith cut the red ribbon for the new floor at Williams Arena, which had its 81-year-old floor replaced this spring.

Starters for the Gophers:

F – Sr. Damian Johnson
F – Jr. Paul Carter
C – So. Ralph Sampson III
G – Jr. Al Nolen Jr.
G – Sr. Lawrence Westbrook

Bulldogs starters:

F – Sr. Ron White
F – Sr. Byron Ninham
C – Jr. Ivan Franklin
G – Sr. Jordan Schade
G – So. Ryan Rasmussen

Seated on the Gophers bench are senior Devron Bostick, junior Trevor Mbakwe, and freshman Royce White.  Bostick and White are in suits, and Mbakwe is in a shirt-and-tie.  All three joined the Gophers on the court for a pregame huddle just a moment ago.