Minnesota Gophers Show Life Again In Thrashing of UCLA Bruins

By Alex Dale
Jom Cowsert- USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a very long time, Minnesota showed some fight yesterday in their 83-63 victory over UCLA.

Andre Hollins, who scored 28 points in the rout of the hapless Bruins, led the Gophers.  This was the most points Hollins has scored since he put up 41 on Memphis back in November.  He is a player who can just go off at any time, and for Minnesota this is as good of a time as any to have an elite scorer.

Point guard Austin Hollins and power forward Trevor Mbakwe both stuffed the stat sheet as well.  Austin Hollins scored 16 points, along with seven assists and four steals.  Mbakwe was just a point away from a double-double, with nine points and 12 boards.

The Gopher offense looked very good, something that could not be said for their previous two months of play.  They shot 51 percent from the field and made 9-16 three pointers (all by a Hollins), on their way to 83 points.  This was the best offensive outputting for the team since January, when they shot 54 percent and scored 84 over Nebraska.

It has to be said that UCLA is kind of really bad right now.  A tourney win is a tourney win, but the Bruins were in shambles after losing their second best player Jordan Adams in the Pac-12 tourney.  They looked absolutely horrific in this game.  They showed poor effort, horrid execution and declined to play on the defensive end of the court.  Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 points, but the rest of the team combined to shoot just 14-45 from the field for 43 points.  On defense, they allowed both of the Hollins guards to shoot wide open, uncontested threes.  If this was Ben Howland’s last game, his team really went out without a fight.

Now, the Gophers move their focus on to Sunday, when they will play Florida.  The Gators are a legitimate national title contender and the Gophers will be considerable underdogs.

But for now, Minnesota fans have to be excited for the Gophers first good win since beating Indiana in February.  A team that looked dead in the water heading in to the tournament showed a whole lot of life and now the Gophers still have life in the NCAA Tournament.

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