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Minnesota Basketball: Gophers overcome slow start to beat Maryland 65-62

Elijah Hawkins leads Gophers to their third straight Big Ten win!

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota wins it’s third consecutive Big Ten game, 7th overall, beating Maryland 65-62. Elijah Hawkins flirted with a triple-double, scoring 10 points, 9 assists and 6 steals, leading a big comeback win for the Gophers.

In program history, Minnesota was 2-16 against the Terrapins and were riding a 10-game losing streak. This win ends that streak and moved the Gophers into a tie for 2nd in the Big Ten for the season.

The first half was ugly basketball by both teams. Minnesota could not make any shots early on, starting the game 0/9 from three. They managed to hold an early 9-12 lead behind 8 early points from Josh Ola-Joseph. But Maryland went on a 14-0 run over the next 7 minutes.

The only thing that prevented Maryland from blowing this game wide open was the fact that they had a very serious turnover problem, ending the half with 15!

Eventually, Braeden Carrington hit a corner three to end the drought but the Gophers finished the half 1/14 from behind the arc. Carrington’s box score is not going to stand out but his influence on this game was undeniable, particularly on the defensive end. He may have been the biggest reason the Gophers were able to claw their way back into the game. Trailing 29-22 at the break seemed like a fortunate situation considering they shot just 29%.

The second half was a reversal of each team’s first-half mistakes. Maryland stopped turning the ball over and Minnesota started making threes. The Terrapins only committing 2 turnovers was clearly a point of emphasis, but the Gophers going 5/9 from three in the final 20 was likely a bigger catalyst to a Gohper win.

The turning point of the game came at the 16:50 mark when Maryland’s Julan Reese got his 4th foul. The Terrapin forward had 11 points and 6 rebounds at the time. As Reese hit the bench, the Gophers went on a 16-6 run, finally tying the game at the 12-minute mark. Elijah Hawkins was left open standing a full step behind what would have been an NBA three, he nailed the deep three to tie the game at 40.

The Gophers slowly extended the lead, going up 8 with 4:31 in the game on a Parker Fox dunk, beautifully assisted by Hawkins. From there, they held on to put the game away playing great defense and making their free throws down the stretch.

Another nice win for the Gophers who are 3-1 in conference and have a few days off before heading to Indiana on Friday.