Through two games the script has been similar. Slow start, let the opponent hang around and then pour it on to win by a comfortable margin. After losing 10 of their last 11 games last season the emphasis has been on finishing games, which this team done.
The Gophers trailed by 5 with 14:36 left in the game. South Dakota State had been playing well and led for most of the previous eight minutes. The Gophers then go on a 22-3 run to take a lead they would never relinquish. South Dakota State scored just 11 points from that 14:36 mark and the Gophers rolled to a 16 point win.
The Gophers were once again paced by "In-n-Out" who had his second double-double in as many games with 17 points,10 rebounds and four blocks. 13 and six of those were accumulated in the 2nd half. Tonight's second leading scorer was Sampson who added 10 points on 5/7 shooting. But neither of them were the story of the game.
The second star of the game was Maverick Ahanmisi who played 12 second half, crucial minutes after getting just 1 minute of playing time in the first half and sparked the big run. Mav scored all eight of his points and all three assists in the second half. Where it gets really interesting is looking at the 2nd half stat lines of the two new guys brought in to run the point. Starting PG, Andre Hollins played 1 total minute in the second half. Julian Welch played 6 but didn't score and gave up 2 turnovers. Chip Armelin carried the load in the first half with 9 points on 4/5 shooting maybe giving Tubby some confidence in his bench. Mbakwe was excited about the play off the bench.
"Definitely. Joe (Coleman), Andre (Ingram), and those guys came into the game and really turned it on. They were a key to the game, too. They were able to pick up the intensity and force some turnovers, and did a really good job for us. That’s what we are going to need from everyone that plays and everyone coach puts in the game. I think our depth is really going to work for us."
The story seems to be the great play by the Gopher bench but I'm still very concerned because there is a very real lack of any consistency. Armelin scored 9 in the first half but nothing in the second. Mav only played a minute in the first but was very good in the second. Andre Hollins gives just one minute in the second half, partly I'm sure because of foul trouble and partly because Mav was earning the minutes. Whatever the reason who whoever it is, somebody needs to step up and be consistent.
The good news is that we forced 18 turnovers and held SDSU to under 37% shooting. I'm just anxious to be able to actually watch a game and make some judgements based on seeing the players on the floor rather than just pouring over box scores and reading recaps.