Gophers down Wofford in impressive fashion

by Jace Frederick

The Gophers game against Wofford on Thursday night served as Minnesota’s final tune-up before heading to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational and a first-round matchup with No. 9 Syracuse on Monday.


The Gophers were fired on all cylinders in their 79-52 win over the Terriers.


“We wanted to [head into Maui] on the right note,” Senior guard Austin Hollins said. “I think we handled our business tonight.”


Minnesota clamped down defensively after an uninspiring effort against Coastal Carolina on Tuesday. The Gophers held Wofford to 31 percent shooting.


“It was just great team defense,” Hollins said. “I think we were communicating a lot better. We were a lot more active with our hands, we were forcing turnovers … [Our energy] was something that we didn’t have last game and we had this game.”


The Gophers jumped on Wofford early. Minnesota built a 24-2 lead eight minutes into the game. And unlike earlier games this season, Minnesota didn’t take its foot off the accelerator.


“Coach just preached to us that we couldn’t come out flat,” senior guard Malik Smith said. “We really just worked on getting better with the little things today.”


Austin Hollins led the Gophers with 18 points. He was closely followed by Oto Osenieks, who set a new career-high with 14 points.


Elliot Eliason finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks, nearly missing out on a double-double.