Hey, the first (and likely only) Kendal Shell headline that will ever occur! It wasn’t the highlight of the game, but in a relatively boring, Wolters-less victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Mr. End-of-the-Bench scored a career high four points in garbage time as the Gophers destroyed SDSU 88-64 and continued to outpace their lesser-tier opponents.
Billed as the final chance for hometown standout Nate Wolters to finally show his big, bad home state university what they were missing, the game never materialized into any sort of meaningful contest. In fact, with Wolters unable to suit up for the game due to an ankle issue, it was a real snoozer throughout.
And you know what? I’m okay with that. Any time Kendal Shell makes the headline of a game I am particularly grateful, because that means the Gophers likely blew out their opponent. Very little good happens in games against low-major opponents for a team ranked in nation’s top 15. In fact, the only good things that can happen are a) they don’t lose; and b) no one gets hurt. Anything else is horrific.
Some people were a little miffed that they weren’t going to see Wolters suit up and play against the Gophers. I get it, but I also don’t. Yes, he’s exciting and yes it would have been fun to see him go up against Andre Hollins. But at this time of year I don’t want to see “good” basketball. I want to see blowouts. “Good” (read: entertaining) basketball means close games, and close games mean games that can be lost. No thanks; not at this time of the year. I’ll take a Wolters-free, boring game any day of the week.
And speaking of Andre Hollins, it was #Hollinsanity all over the place tonight in Williams Arena to the tune of 6-7 from long range (he hit his first six in a row) and 8-9 from the floor. That was good for 22 points in only 23 minutes of game time. Talk about efficiency. Had this been a “good” game requiring more minutes we might have seen another Memphis-type performance.
In fact, it was pretty much the Hollins & Coleman show tonight, as Andre, Austin (17) and Dan-Dan (15) did almost all of the scoring. They combined for 54 points, nine steals, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Oh, and only two turnovers. And after a horrific performance from deep against North Florida, the Gopher rebounded to hit 10-22 shots from behind the arc, which helped put the game away extremely early.
A couple notes from the game:
- Rodney Williams had his first “off” night of the season and only converted a single dunk the entire game. He was obviously frustrated down low and never got many chances to convert, going only 1-6 from the field. This didn’t necessarily translate to success on the other side of the ball either, though he did have three huge blocks. His lack of output on the offensive side caused him to overcompensate on the defensive side, leading to sloppy fouls and overly-aggressive play. Hopefully it was just a down performance and nothing else, but it’s not good to see him taken off his game so easily.
- Oto Osenieks hit his first three pointer of the season! *applause*
- I didn’t realize it until I looked at the box score but Mbakwe was only two points short of a double-double. That would have been maybe the quietest double-double of the last couple of years had it happened. Good to see that even when he’s not blowing opponents away, Mbakwe is putting up big numbers quietly and efficiently, as he only played 14 minutes.