Austin Hollins paved the way and showed once again why his play is going to be a key factor in the Golden Gophers’ quest to win a conference championship. He drilled five treys in a span of three and a half minutes during a second-half surge and Minnesota took care of business on defense as well en route to its 10th consecutive win.
Hollins scored 19 points in the victory, 17 coming in the second half, and he was happy about the way the Golden Gophers responded after a slow start.
“This was a good test for us,” Hollins said in a post-game press conference. “There are going to be games like that when we’re going to struggle, and fighting through it shows what kind of team we are.”
What is shows is that Minnesota is a good team, good enough to win the Big Ten and good enough to make a run in the NCAA tournament in March.
The Golden Gophers have so many options on offense, and against Northwestern, it was Hollins who rose to the occasion. The thing is, Minnesota doesn’t rely on Hollins to the point where he has to play out of his mind or the Golden Gophers lose.
“That’s the beauty about this team. Any game, somebody can step up big,” Trevor Mbakwe said in a post-game press conference. “We needed that from Austin. Offensively, it was a struggle. It was ugly.”
Ugly, perhaps, but in the end it was another win for Minnesota.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.