Minnesota junior guard Andre Hollins played less than a minute in the Golden Gophers’ win over Wisconsin on January 22, as he sprained his ankle after attempting a jump shot in the early stages of the game. As a result of the injury Hollins missed Minnesota’s loss to Nebraska last Sunday, and according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports the guard is expected to sit out Saturday’s game against Northwestern as well.
Hollins, who’s averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game this season, reached double figures in eight consecutive games before suffering the ankle injury.
Without Hollins two newcomers stepped up against Wisconsin, with Dre Mathieu (18 points, five rebounds and three assists) and Malik Smith (14 points, three rebounds and three assists) figuring prominently in the victory. Smith, who came off the bench against Wisconsin, started against Nebraska and scored 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting.
Two issues for the Minnesota backcourt in their loss to Nebraska was the play of Mathieu and Austin Hollins. Mathieu scored 14 points and dished out four assists but he also committed nine turnovers, with Austin Hollins scoring nine points on 2-for-5 shooting from the field. Smith scored 29 points to lead the way offensively for Minnesota, but that performance wasn’t enough as the Golden Gophers fell to 4-4 in Big Ten play (15-6 overall).
Those three players will be key on Saturday afternoon as Richard Pitino’s group looks to take care of a Northwestern squad that’s coming off of a win at No. 17 Wisconsin earlier this week, with Drew Crawford scoring 30 points to lead the way.