The Gophers have certainly been through the ringer over the last week. They mercifully finished a string of games featuring Duke, Memphis, Stanford, and Florida State and showed perhaps their true 2012-13 colors, emerging 3-1 in the brutal four game stretch with their latest win over the Seminoles in a true road game in Tallahassee. In fact, Minnesota won in fairly convincing fashion, even leading by 21 at one point in the game.
Even with the conference season right around the corner, the last four games have really shown us that the Gophers are a team to be reckoned with this year, and we’ll be hard pressed to find a string of four games the rest of the season that will paint a more accurate picture of who these guys are. Granted, things can certainly change at the drop of a hat, but the win over the Seminoles tonight certainly showed that the Gophers are deserving of being a team talked about at the national level.
Their recent performance definitely deserves its own blog post, but for now there are several points to make from tonight’s win:
- Austin Hollins, as we’ve said before, is the key to this season. It was never more apparent than tonight when he absolutely shut down Florida State star shooting guard Michael Snaer. Snaer was held to only 12 points and was stuck at nine for most of the game. In fact, Snaer proclaimed on his own that he “can’t be guarded”. Huh, well then. Oh yeah, and Hollins also scored 13 points, good for third on the team.
- Joe Coleman, come on up! Coleman broke open his season tonight, scoring 16 points to lead the team while also hitting two HUGE shots down the stretch when the Seminoles actually put up a fight. He hit a couple nice jumpers, but did his biggest damage by finding holes in the Seminole defense and getting to the hoop. Seriously, the guy found some crazy angles to the bucket and, once his teammates found him down low, he nailed his drives in transition. He was super smooth tonight and probably the player of the game. Given his recent turnover woes, it was also nice to see him take relatively good care of the ball.
- Rodney Williams continues to be electrifying and the rock that the team needs. 5-5 from the free throw line, three huge dunks and four offensive rebounds. He is this year’s leader on both ends of the floor, even when he doesn’t lead the team in scoring. He had 14 tonight. Oh yeah, and he had three blocks too.
- Elliott Eliason was an enigma. He had probably his best game of the season but also looked pretty sloppy on the offensive end. He grabbed 10 rebounds (including five offensive) but also was just 1-4 from the field including a few missed attempts from point blank range. It was a small step in the right direction but still hard to really rely on the guy.
The Gophers finally come home from the Southeast for two quick home games before heading out to Southern Cal for another road game. And here’s a nice treat from tonight’s game, courtesy of Rodney Williams: