Just a day after getting dominated by Mason Plumlee and Duke, 89-71, Minnesota bounced back with their best win of the season. Minnesota recorded a huge 84-75 upset win over Memphis in the consolation game for the Battle for Atlantis.
This is a great bounce back result for the Golden Gophers by beating the No. 19 team in the country. This performance was against a reeling Memphis club, that had gotten crushed by VCU the day before, but it was still a nice win for Minnesota.
However, the even bigger story that comes from this game is the play of sophomore guard Andre Hollins. He was sensational, putting up 41 points, a career-high and most for Minnesota in four decades. Hollins was extremely efficient, shooting 12-16, from the field, 5-5 from three and 12-13 from the free throw line. Hollins was clearly in the zone all game, making everything look easy on offense. He scored the final nine points of the game, sealing it for Minnesota. He single-handedly outscored the top three scorers for Memphis.
The strange part about Hollins’ masterful performance was the fact that he was averaging just under 10 points a game coming in. He has shown flashes of being a great scorer, earlier in his career. Hollins scored 20 points or more in four of his last seven games last season, and lead the Gophers to the NIT title game.
For Minnesota, this was just what the doctor ordered. They did not want to lose back-to-back games away from home, especially with a game at Florida State on Tuesday. With Trevor Mbakwe not playing well, due to him not being fully recovered form his knee injury, it was essential that somebody else step up. Hollins did that, as Rodney Williams was the only other player in double digits for them. If Hollins can play half this well all season, and Mbakwe works himself back to his top form, than they can be a very good team.
For Hollins, he has the opportunity to make himself one of the top guards in the Big Ten. With Tim Frazier and Josh Gasser out for the year, and Gary Harris out for a few weeks, the there is an opening at the top. Trey Burke, Jordan Hulls and Kieth Appling have both been playing well, though Burke has been inefficient offensively.
Hollins has the ability to be really good, as he showed down the stretch last season and Friday. Consistency will be the question for the Minnesota guard. He can likely only go down from here, but if his regression to the mean is a 15-20 point scorer than Minnesota should be ecstatic.