Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hoopsters Crush Iowa for 2-0 Big Ten Start

For the second year in a row, the Gopher basketball team ventured to Iowa City and came away with a dominant victory. this time 86-74.

Blake Hoffarber scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, which saw the Gophers shoot 54% from the floor and build a 49-32 lead. Damian Johnson (13) and Devoe Joseph (12) each reached double-figures for Minnesota.

Coach Tubby Smith played each of his ten healthy players, and all but Colton Iverson scored in the game. Senior Devron Bostick played his finest game of the season, notching eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.

The Gophers dominated the game's first five minutes, forcing six Iowa turnovers. The Gophers' tough defense forced Iowa to turn the ball over 18 times in the first half - 14 of them on steals. For the game, Iowa turned the ball over 25 times, while the Gophers managed a disappointing 16 on their own. The Gophs were out-rebounded 37-35, partially due to Iowa's poor overall shooting. However, the defensive effort Saturday is to be applauded.

Minnesota played without Ralph Sampson III, who sat out due to an ankle injury. How long he will remain out is not known, although they'll definitely need him for their next game.

The Gophers are now 11-3 and have won eight games in a row. They have started 2-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2004-05. The road gets much tougher for the Gophers, as they face #4 Purdue in West Lafayette on Tuesday night. This will be a good test for the Gophers, as they look to rebound from a poor performance in that building one year ago and also try to avenge the three losses sustained earlier in the season.

Tuesday is a statement game for this year's collection. Let's see what the Gophers are made of.

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