Andre Hollins

Aesthetics? Not in Minnesota’s win over No. 20 Wisconsin

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Having lost six of their last eight games, Minnesota was in danger of falling out of the bottom half of the Big Ten standings with a loss to No. 20 Wisconsin.

But two Joe Coleman free throws with 17.4 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 49, and from there the Golden Gophers would go on to pick up a much-needed 58-53 victory. That halts the slide (2-6 in the eight games prior to tonight) that had some ready to run Tubby Smith out of Minneapolis.

The ugly showing on the offensive end however? That may be something that Minnesota fans have to get used to down the stretch.

Andre Hollins shot 5-of-16 from the field but finished with 21 points as offense was hard to come by for both teams, and his three halfway through overtime sealed the deal. Regardless of the offensive struggles Minnesota simply needed a victory with games against Ohio State and Indiana looming (after a trip to Iowa this weekend).

“We want to simplify things,” Smith said following the game. “One of the things that we’ve been doing is having Dre run a lot of stuff, call a lot of different plays, and I just said, ‘Lets narrow it down.’ I wanted him to get out and run more because everybody focuses on him. He’s our leading scorer.”

Minnesota shot 36.9% tonight but made enough trips to the foul line to gut out the victory, shooting 18-of-24 from the charity stripe and outscoring Wisconsin by eight (18-10).

Also of note was the fact that Wisconsin shot 11-of-31 from inside the arc, and even with the Badgers scoring nearly 35% of their points on three-pointers Bo Ryan’s team needs to hit their two-point shots at a decent rate in order to keep opponents honest. Minnesota was able to do enough defensively to limit Wisconsin’s quality two-point looks, which allowed them to remain within striking distance after a slow start.

Thursday’s win wasn’t pretty and anyone connected with it will express the desire to play better, but Minnesota simply needed the result against their rival. They can worry about the aesthetics of the result on Friday.

“That was a real big win for us. We were coming in on a losing streak and we needed something to pick us up,” said Williams.

“We have a lot of people down on us right now but we know what we are capable of and how good we can be and I think this win can put us back to how we were.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.