Gophers ground Rockets men's basketball

Edge on glass fuels Minnesota to beat Toledo

11/13/2012
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Toledo-Minnesota-Basketball

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.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.
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.

NO. 5 MICHIGAN 91, IUPUI 54

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).