THE FACTS: The Gophers ended a 5-game losing streak and finally got their first Big Ten win of the season with an 80-89 win over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Throughout the dubious losing streak the Gophers managed to squander second half leads to Purdue, Michigan, Iowa and lost in overtime to Ohio State. This time they held on, keeping Rutgers at arm's length throughout and getting the win.
Not only did the team give themselves a step in the right direction but Andre Hollins broke out of his Big Ten slump and blew up for 31 points making 7 threes in 10 attempts. The senior was having some fun on the court and paired with Maurice Walker's 16 to lead the Gophers to a much needed win.
QUOTABLE: Coach Rick Pitino on sticking with Andre Hollins through his struggles the last few weeks
"It sounds silly, but I don't really look for offense. If you turn the ball over, that'll bother me, or if you don't run the offense, but if you're not making shots, as long as you take good ones, I'm gonna roll with it. Andre was doing so many other things that may not show up on a box score, and that's why I stuck with him and I never really had a doubt, because he does all those other things."
THE STAT: The way the Gophers win is by creating turnovers that led to points. This afternoon they forced 20 Rutger's turnovers and those eventually led to 26 points on the scoreboard. The formula worked today.
TURNING POINT: 41 seconds into the game Andre Hollins made a three to give the Gophers a 0-3 lead. That wasn't the lead for good, Rutgers did eventually tie it back up at 29-29, but the Gophers needed Hollins to hit and be a major contributor today. Him hitting his first shot on Minnesota's first possession was big.
HOT: Duh. Hollins hitting 70% from three and hitting a season high 31 points. Let's hope he stays hot!
NOT: Joey King has been struggling. It is less about his stats or lack of athleticism but his shots are consistently barely getting above the rim. When his threes are going in they are creeping over and the rest are banging off the front iron. I will give him credit for seemingly leading the nation in charges taken, but his shot has been brick city lately. He is a good shooter but something has been off lately.
NOTABLE: Let us not forget Mo Walker today. His 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals is a pretty nice stat line while also hitting 6/7 from the free thrown line. The big man has been a calming outlet for this offense when things have been a struggle on that end of the floor. A nice game for Walker today that will be overshadowed for obvious reasons.
UP NEXT: A trip to Nebraska on Tuesday. This is the time when you want to play a game a quickly as possible to maintain any momentum and more importantly confidence. A win is nice, building on it and getting a nice road win will be even nicer.