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_
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.