Minnesota takes down No. 1 Indiana
by Terry Hutchens, USA TODAY Sports
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota got to every loose ball, every offensive rebound and was simply tougher than Indiana on Tuesday night.
The numbers will back that up. The Golden Gophers manhandled the top-ranked Hoosiers in a 77-73 victory at Williams Arena that ended with the fans storming the court.
Minnesota had 23 offensive rebounds. It scored 40 points in the paint. The Gophers had 21 second-chance points. The list of domination goes on and on.
IU coach Tom Crean said his team suffered a physical letdown.
“It wasn’t so much the toughness though that was a part of it,” Crean said. “We weren’t physical enough. We didn’t create the first hit. There were too many times when that shot went up and they were there before we were because we weren’t into their bodies.”
Indiana had some individual breakdowns, too.
Trevor Mbakwe manhandled Cody Zeller in ways that IU’s sophomore center hasn’t been exploited in his two-year Indiana career.
Christian Watford, as Crean would say in the postgame press conference, was a non-factor.
This one was about physicality and Indiana didn’t show up in that regard. Mbakwe had 21 points and 12 rebounds, six of the boards coming on the offensive end. Zeller had nine points and seven rebounds, but those numbers don’t really tell the story.
Here’s Zeller’s night in a nutshell:
• He was 2-of-9 from the field. He hit a 6-foot turnaround on the low block and scored on a transition lay up that could have easily been called a charge.
• He had three of his shots blocked. But that doesn’t really do it justice either. The blocks were of the straight down, all-hand-on-ball variety.
• He had four turnovers and just didn’t look comfortable. The last one came when he had tried to drive to the basket and dribbled the ball off his legs. Zeller also had a defensive rebound earlier in the game where he tried to slam the ball in his hands as it came off the rib and the ball caromed out of bounds.
Crean didn’t agree with the assertion that Zeller wasn’t in the flow of the game.
“I don’t know about that,” Crean said. “They … [For more on Minnesota Gophers take down No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers, click here.]