Wednesday night is the night of the court stormers, but the fans at Northwestern, even after watching their team beat No. 12 Minnesota, 55-48, remained in the stands to take in the victory.
Court storm or not, it marks another solid Big Ten win over a ranked opponent and a disappointing in-conference loss for the Gophers.
Northwestern’s zone disrupted Minnesota all night, holding coach Tubby Smith’s team to 33 percent shooting, including 5-of-19 from three-point range. That, added to 15 Minnesota turnovers, sunk the Gophers on Wednesday.
Minnesota held a massive 42-23 advantage on the backboards, including grabbing 17 offensive rebounds.
Guard Austin Hollins played just 19 minutes on Wednesday before fouling out. He picked up his fourth foul with 12:01 to play, but Smith let him remain in the game. Just 14 seconds later, he picked up his fifth.
At the time that he fouled out, Minnesota held the lead by one point, 37-36.
Trevor Mbakwe was the biggest bright spot for Minnesota on Wednesday, scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbing 16 rebounds. Perhaps the biggest question is why he, working so well against the Northwestern defense, did not get more touches. Credit likely goes to the Wildcats’ defense.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.