Minnesota defeated Rutgers 80-68 tonight at the United Center. The Gophers advance to play Ohio State at 9pm tomorrow. Joey King led all Minnesota scorers with 20 points.
As Homer noted, "A man who has been through bitter experiences and traveled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time." For that reason, I watched the entirety of this game. The first half was ugly. Minnesota had a three point lead at the break, but allowed tons of offensive rebounds from Rutgers. Guards failed to crash the boards and bigs failed to box out.
The second half opened up thanks to a run by Joey King and Charles Buggs. King was excellent tonight on the offensive end. As mentioned he finished with 20 points, and did so efficiently on 7-11 shooting (6-9 from deep). King also added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Charles Buggs provided excellent minutes in the second half. With 13:42 to play, Buggs set up Konate on alley oop, and then he and King traded threes four possessions in the row to blow the game open.
Minnesota did a much better job in the second half on defense, forcing several turnovers and generally shutting down the second chance points from Rutgers. With the exception of a few silly shots, Minnesota prevented much of what Rutgers wanted to do on offense. The Gophers' offensive output was much too reliant on Joey King, but then again when a player can't miss, you Michael Jordan shrug and move on. Minnesota will need a much better game from Mo Walker and Andre Hollins to beat Ohio State.
Charles Buggs missed a layup tonight because he was too high in the air. As a fan of Charles Buggs being ridiculously athletic, dunk the ball. Seriously, your head was above the rim. What are you doing going for layups?
Fun with stats! Andre Hollins had 0 points tonight. He will finish his career against Rutgers averaging 15.5 points per game.
I'd be remiss to not point out that Bishop Daniels put Nate Mason on a poster with a vicious dunk in the second half. Mason responded well, and he and Daniels briefly had a mini game of one on one in the second half. Mason ended the night with 15 points, and added three steals and two assists.