That was closer than it should have been, but the Gophers took care of business when it matter most. A few quick thoughts before a full review tomorrow:
- This close win is probably more meaningful in the long run than any blow-out would have been. The Gophers needed a confidence boost, especially in a close game. After three close losses in November, they may have felt cursed. Now they know they can win a close game.
- The Gophers probably shouldn’t have won. They were out-shot, out-rebounded, couldn’t make free throws, and anyone who wasn’t a guard essentially took the day off.
- If there was any thought that Westbrook’s scoring ability left along with his excess weight, it should be clear now he still has it. He simply outplayed one of the best players in the Big Ten.
- Maybe Minnesota’s offense isn’t so balanced after all. After Westbrook’s 29 and Hoffarber’s 11, no one scored more than 7 points.
- The press is back, forcing ten (or so) second half turnovers and keeping Penn State off balance on offense.
- I may never write this again, but I am thankful for Sid Hartman. He dragged (well, as much as a 90 year old can drag anyone) Clem Haskins on to the court. It was an emotional moment and clearly meant a lot to the 1989 elite eight team which was honored at half time.
- The perimeter defense is lacking more due to mental lapses than any systemic issues. Talor Battle was left too open far too often.
- It is always refreshing to be reminded that The Barn can still be a very hostile environment, even after months of bad and boring basketball.