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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Worst Minnesota Has To Offer

(photo caption) Michigan's Daniel Horton dribbles past Gopher Rico Tucker en route to a 32 point night (photo courtesy the Associated Press).

An absolute embarrassment.

There's no better way to describe the debacle that was the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers loss to the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night by a score of 71-55. In moving to 0-5 in Big Ten Conference play, the Gophers achieved little other than to inch head coach Dan Monson closer to the door.

In their return home following an inspired triple-overtime effort in their 76-72 loss at Iowa on Thursday night, the Gophers had as much momentum as they've had all season as they prepared to face the Wolverines.

Whatever momentum the Gophers may have had was quickly deflated as the Wolverines sprinted to a 21-9 lead a little over half way through the first half.

Though the Gophers eventually shrunk the Michigan lead to six points (28-22) at halftime, however the second half would only see a continued Wolverine onslaught.

Michigan added to their halftime cushion by gaining a 47-30 advantage by the six minute mark of the second half and maintained their lead in route to a relatively comfortable final score of 71-55.

On the night, senior guard Daniel Horton scored 32 points for the Wolverines on 8-16 shooting, including six three pointers and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Junior guard Dion Harris added 16 points for Michigan in the win.

Senior guard Mo Hargrow led Minnesota with 16 points, while senior forward J'son Stamper notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers.

Michigan (13-3, 3-2) now sports a winning record in Big Ten play, while the Gophers (9-7, 0-5) will seek their first conference victory Wednesday in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. versus the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois.


--Game Notes, Rumors, and Innuendo--
-Minnesota shot a measly 38% from the floor, a putrid 59% from the line, a meager 17% from three point land, and committed a lousy 18 turnovers against Michigan.
-With no screens being set for him, and very few plays being run for him, Vincent Grier is a very average player, as evidenced by his eight points on 1-8 shooting Saturday night. Grier has not shown an ability to create his own shots and has begun to demonstrate his mounting frustration in Monson's offense by taking ill-advised and low percentage shots.
-Though it's old news now, a source close to the Gophers reported in October that this would be Coach Monson's final season in Minnesota, regardless of the team's performance. The logic being that if the team did well, Monson would parlay the success into a position elsewhere, while if the team played poorly, Monson would gladly earn the remaining six years and millions of dollars his contract calls for by not coaching.
-The same source reported last week that the situation over at Williams Arena is one of "rats fleeing a sinking ship". Let's just say resumes are being updated.
-In attendance for the Gophers-Wolverines matchup were preps standouts Bryce Webster of St. Thomas Academy and Trevor Mbakwe of Henry Sibley. Webster has already signed with the U for next year, while Mbakwe is only a junior.
-Speaking of Mbakwe, the Gophers ran a cute little recruiting ploy on the prepster last night by distributing flyers bearing Mbakwe's picture as well as the phrase "We Want Trevor" on them to the student section last night. The flyers were very, let's say "noticeable", in every TV shot of the student section.
-Also in attendance was newly re-signed Gophers football coach Glen Mason. Mason glad-handed Athletic Director Joel Maturi as Mason made his way to his seat accompanied by his wife.

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