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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

FINAL: Minnesota 77, No. 1 Indiana 73

IU was thoroughly outmanned on the boards all evening as the Hoosiers fell to Minnesota 77-73 Tuesday evening in Minneapolis.

Trevor Mbawke, Minnesota's burly sixth-year forward who once played for IU Coach Tom Crean at Marquette, staked the Golden Gophers to an early lead, primarily by outmuscling Hoosiers in the post.

He also tacked on an uncharacteristic early 15-foot jump shot in the opening 8-2 Minnesota salvo.

His efforts extended to defense, a block from behind denying sophomore forward Cody Zeller an early layup.

Mbakwe got the best of Zeller on the glass as well. In a battle of the Big Ten's top two rebounding squads, Minnesota entered the half with a 20-16 edge, Mbakwe leading the team in its customary strong offensive rebounding. Minnesota has nine rebounds on the offensive boards.

Just as one of the biggest Gophers helped Minnesota early, though, one of the smallest Hoosiers helped Indiana roar back.

Senior Hulls launched a bevy of long jumpers, most from 3-point range, to fuel an IU run as he scored a team-leading 14 in the first half. His best scoring effort in the Big Ten season came in the teams' meeting in Assembly Hall, when he had 19 points.

After trailing 16-10 less than seven minutes in, IU broke off a 13-2 run and never trailed after that point in the half.

IU did not ride the run to a commanding halftime lead as it did in Assembly Hall, though. Minnesota tied the game at 27 with 7:03 left in the period and the game slowed from that point on.

Free throws helped IU build its narrow 34-30 lead as the game slowed heading into the break.

Mbakwe started the second half in similar strong fashion to the first. He scored two quick buckets to tie the game, then tricked Zeller into a travel with nimble footwork on defense.

Hulls, on the other hand, did not match his quick start, missing a pair of jumpers. Luckily for IU, Hull's back court partner, freshman guard Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, found his shot after an 0-for-5 first half.

With a contested layup against several much larger Gophers, then a deep 3-point jumper, Ferrell helped IU once again take a two possession lead.

And, once again, it would not last. The teams traded shots for several minutes before Minnesota backup big man Elliot Eliason scored seven straight to tie it up.

Even in the back-and-forth of the game's first 30 minutes, several notable names remained unusually quiet. Zeller remained out of synch all evening, while Andre Hollins, the hero of Minnesota's near-comeback in Assembly Hall with 25 points, missed shot after shot.

Hollins missed his first six 3-point point attempts Tuesday, but when he finally connected well into the second half, the conversion gave Minnesota its first lead of the half.

Zeller responded with a breakaway layup and an and-one conversion to give IU the edge by a single point.

It would be the Hoosiers' last of the night.

Minnesota reeled off a 12-4 run, with several Gophers contributing buckets, to take a seven point lead. Senior forward Christian Watford prolonged the agony, knocking down a pair of trailing 3-pointers to twice cut the deficit to four point.

With less than a half minute remaining, IU looked to have one last chance as junior guard Victor Oladipo had an open look at a 3-pointer from the left corner that would cut the Gopher lead to three. However, Rodney Williams, launching himself from the pant, cleanly blocked the shot and preserved the two-possession lead.

Hulls would hit a long shot himself, but by that point it was too late, and free throws salted away the upset for Minnesota.

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