Minn. uses balanced attack to rout Mount St. Mary’s

Five Gophers scored in double figures in an 85-56 home win.

Gophers' guard Andre Hollins goes for a layup during a game against Mount St. Marys on Monday at Williams Arena.

Anthony Kwan

Gophers’ guard Andre Hollins goes for a layup during a game against Mount St. Marys on Monday at Williams Arena.

Charlie Armitz

It may have taken them four games, but there was no mistaking the GophersâÄô dominance Monday night in an 85-56 rout of Mount St. MaryâÄôs at Williams Arena.

Five Minnesota players scored in double figures as the Gophers improved to 4-0 on the season with all four wins coming at home.

âÄúIt was a good evening, better than weâÄôve had previously as far as execution,âÄù head coach Tubby Smith said. âÄúWe were sharp and crisp. Our guys made better decisions with the ball. We got off to a good start.âÄù

MinnesotaâÄôs previous three wins had all been by fewer than 20 points and required late-game surges, but this one was never close.

Despite playing without senior center/forward Ralph Sampson III (ankle), the Gophers started the game on an 11-0 run. They extended their lead to 25-4 at the 10-minute mark.

Minnesota kept the pressure on for the entire first half, forcing 12 turnovers while out-rebounding Mount St. MaryâÄôs 24-9.

The Gophers, who led 51-18 at halftime, committed just three turnovers in the first half and nine in the game. The Mountaineers had 21 turnovers.

In last ThursdayâÄôs 67-57 win against Fairfield, Minnesota turned the ball over 23 times âÄî three more than its opponent.

âÄúThatâÄôs one thing we stress in practice âÄî taking care of the ball in game-like situations,âÄù sophomore guard Austin Hollins said. âÄúWe came out and executed tonight.âÄù

Austin Hollins led the Gophers with 14 points, seven of which came in the opening minute and a half. Freshman point guard Andre Hollins had 13 points in 18 minutes.

Andre Hollins split time with Julian Welch and Maverick Ahanmisi, and the three point guards combined for 19 points, eight assists and two turnovers. They also combined to force 10 turnovers from Mount St. MaryâÄôs point guard, Josh Castellanos.

Junior forward Rodney Williams scored all 12 of his points in the first half, 10 of which came on dunks. Both of his rebounds were putback slams that seemed effortless for the highflying 6-foot-7 forward.

âÄúThey had smaller guys âÄî this is one of the smaller teams that weâÄôre going to see all season,âÄù Williams said. âÄúCoach was just telling me to be aggressive in the paint because thatâÄôs where I had my advantage.âÄù

Senior forward Trevor Mbakwe had 10 points and nine rebounds âÄî his first game this season without a double-double âÄî but didnâÄôt have to carry as large of a load once the Gophers took an early lead.

âÄúHe did what he had to tonight,âÄù Austin Hollins said. âÄúShots were falling for us, so that made his job a lot easier.âÄù

The pace slowed in the second half as Minnesota put the game on cruise control. That enabled the Mountaineers to execute their half-court offense and outscore Minnesota 38-34 in the last 20 minutes.

Still, Smith said he was pleased with the teamâÄôs last performance before heading to Orlando, Fla., for the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 24-27.

âÄúI thought top to bottom, getting everybody in the game was key, especially going into this Old Spice Classic,âÄù Smith said. âÄúWe needed a big game to have some confidence and feel good about ourselves.âÄù

Minnesota is scheduled to play three games in the Old Spice Classic, beginning with DePaul at 1 p.m. Thursday.