Note: This article is in reference to the Minnesota Penn State game that took place tonight. Along with a Twins fan, I'm also a huge Gopher basketball fan, but don't worry, I'll be sticking mainly to baseball stuff after this.
That was taxing. Two hours after the start, the Gophers were victorious in Indianapolis after a bloodbath with the Penn State Nittany Lions where you had to practically tackle somebody to foul them. All I have is basic cable so I had to listen to it on my small radio. I turned it on with the Gophers up six nothing, reassuring sign. From then on, the game was relatively back and forth, with some absolutely atrocious officiating. (At least according to Mike Grimm. I have no idea what they were like. All I've seen are the highlights on ESPN.com in which the announcer tries to convince us that Andre and Austin Hollins are the same person. No, seriously)
Anyway, the Gophers were getting killed on the boards, Penn State had thirteen offensive rebounds, including one sequence where they had three straight before making the basket. I won't be a moron and point out that they'll have to play a lot better to beat Wisconsin tomorrow.
Let's flash forward to the end of game, more specifically, the final 3:33. Geno Thorpe had just made two free throws but it's no big deal, the Gophers all still up by nine.....Whoops.
In the time it took me to say that, the Nittany Lions have cut the lead to six, but now McNeil's going to the line to shoot a 1-1, no big deal. McNeil clangs the free throw. I'm beginning to slightly panic right now, but still, Penn hasn't scored yet and now Mathieu's going to the line, surely he'll come through, right? Clang.
Penn State gets the rebound and King immediately commits a foul. Of course Penn State make their free throws. Moving forward another minute, the Gopher are up by four with Dre Hollins going to the line. There's no way he misses a third time. There is a way. By now I'm cursing and stomping around in my room, but manage to calm myself. Three in a row is unlikely, four in a row is impossible. Nope. Hollins misses the second one as well but there's a lane violation. Yes! Hollins calmly sinks the second one like he has ice in his veins. Gophers up five.
After a missed three, the Lions (of course) get the offensive rebound, (of course) prompting King to foul again and they (of course) make the free throws.
Gophers call a timeout up three with twenty one seconds left. They trot out a five of Hollins, Hollins, King, Mathieu and Ahanmisi. Wait, did I hear that right? Maverick Ahanmisi? In crunch time? Of the Big Ten tournament? WHAT THE HELL IS MAVERICK DOING OUT THERE? Glad to get that out of the way. Anyway, they let the shot clock wind down before King finds Dre in the corner. Bang. Gophers up six, eleven seconds left. That seals it.
There's no doubt they'll need to play better to beat the Badgers yet, they can't allow so many offensive rebounds and it would be nice if Malik Smith could get his shooting percentage up to 10% for the last two weeks. A win will pretty much put them in the Tournament. Ski-u-mah.