Monday, May 21, 2018
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Gophers ground Rockets men's basketball

Edge on glass fuels Minnesota to beat Toledo


Minnesota's Elliot Eliason (55) loses control of the ball between Toledo's Dominique Buckley, right, and Rian Pearson, left, during the second half. The Gophers pounded UT 82-56.


MINNEAPOLIS — Rod­ney Wil­liams had 12 points, eight re­bounds and four steals, Austin Hollins scored 10 of his 13 points in the game's first five min­utes, and Min­ne­sota blew by Toledo 82-56 on Mon­day night.

Joe Cole­man fin­ished with 15 points and six re­bounds de­spite eight turn­overs, and Oto Ose­nieks pitched in eight points off the bench for the Go­phers (2-0), who played so sharply and con­fi­dently in the first half their oc­ca­sional slop­pi­ness down the stretch didn't mat­ter.

Rian Pear­son led the Rock­ets (0-2) with 18 points, and fresh­man cen­ter Nathan Boothe added 13 points and seven re­bounds.

Toledo went 3 for 19 from 3-point range against an ac­tive, hus­tling Go­phers de­fense. The Rock­ets were sec­ond in the Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence in 3-point shoot­ing last sea­son and made nearly 44 per­cent from be­hind the arc over the last 12 games.

Min­ne­sota held Amer­i­can to 36 points on 9-for-38 shoot­ing (23.7 per­cent) in the opener last week. Toledo fin­ished at 31.1 per­cent from the field.

These Go­phers, ar­gu­ably coach Tubby Smith's deep­est and most-ath­letic team so far, are rar­ing to go, look­ing for the fast break as of­ten as pos­si­ble. The 51-27 re­bound­ing ad­van­tage they owned on Mon­day sure helped the tran­si­tion game, too.

Min­ne­sota is 43-1 in non­con­fer­ence games at home in six sea­sons un­der Smith, los­ing only to Vir­ginia in the ACC/Big Ten Chal­lenge two years ago. The Go­phers raised their record to 21-2 against MAC teams, last los­ing to Ball State in 1988.

The last time these teams played was 1989, an 85-70 win by Min­ne­sota at Toledo. The Rock­ets beat the Go­phers 83-75 at home in 1987, early in Clem Haskins' sec­ond sea­son as coach at Min­ne­sota.

This game was never close.

Hollins hit two 3-point­ers and swished all four of his shots in those de­fin­ing first five min­utes, and the Go­phers took a 15-2 lead. Only once in the first half did Toledo score four straight points.

The Go­phers built a 64-32 lead in the sec­ond half be­fore Pear­son started to find some space to get to the bas­ket, and the Rock­ets took ad­van­tage of some too-ca­sual passes by Min­ne­sota.

The Rock­ets play again on the road Wed­nes­day at North­ern Iowa.

Pear­son, the only player who ranked in the MAC's top 10 in points, re­bounds, and steals in 2011-12, fin­ished 7 for 17 from the field but 3 for 8 from the foul line. Ju­lius Brown, the MAC Fresh­man of the Year last sea­son, had nine points on 3 for 13 shoot­ing, plus seven as­sists and seven turn­overs.

Toledo is 27-44 all-time against the Big Ten. The last win by the Rock­ets was on Dec. 30, 2002, an 81-76 de­ci­sion over Mich­i­gan State.


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Trey Burke scored 22 points and Glenn Robin­son III added 21, lead­ing No. 5 Mich­i­gan in the NIT Sea­son Tip Off.

Burke equaled a ca­reer high with nine as­sists and Robin­son made his first eight shots from the field. Mich­i­gan (2-0) has been a model of ef­fi­ciency on of­fense so far this sea­son. After beat­ing Slip­pery Rock 100-62 in their opener, the Wol­v­er­ines shot 60 per­cent from the field and went 13 of 21 from 3-point range against IUPUI.

Mich­i­gan ad­vances to play Cleve­land State in the next round to­day.

Pur­due trans­fer John Hart scored 15 points for IUPUI (1-1).

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