Hot-Shooting Gophers Hold Off Wolverines, 69-64

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Sampson III, Mbakwe Lead Gophers Past Michigan, 69-64

(Sports Network) - Ralph Sampson III and Trevor Mbakwe both scored 13 points, and No. 15 Minnesota held on for a 69-64 victory over Michigan, sending the Wolverines to their sixth straight loss.

Blake Hoffarber added 12 points and Rodney Williams scored 10 for the Golden Gophers (15-4, 4-3 Big Ten), who snapped a four-game losing streak to Michigan with their third straight win overall.

The Wolverines (11-9, 1-6) got 20 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. and 11 apiece from Zack Novak and Darius Morris, but remained winless since a victory over Penn State on January 2.

Michigan took a 29-24 lead with 2:18 remaining in the first half on Matt Vogrich three-pointer. But the Gophers responded with a 14-0 run that bled into the second half.

Maverick Ahanmisi's jumper gave Minnesota a 31-29 lead at halftime, and his three-pointer early in the second half capped the burst and gave the Gophers a 38-29 lead.

The Wolverines responded with a 12-2 run, however, and took their final lead of the game when Morris' three made it 41-40 with 11:19 remaining.

Sampson's bucket at the other end gave Minnesota the lead for good. The Gophers went ahead by as many as 10 points twice, the first time on Sampson's layup with 2:46 left in the game.

Hardaway hit a three-pointer and Morris buried a jumper to get Michigan within five points on two separate trips down the court in the last 29 seconds.

But the Gophers were good enough at the foul line to ice the win, their first against Michigan since February 21, 2008, in head coach Tubby Smith's first year at the helm.

Game Notes

Minnesota shot 63 percent for the game, including 68 percent in the second half...The Wolverines shot 43 percent from the field while chucking up 35 three-pointers (they made 12)...Michigan leads the all-time series, 82-65.

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Wolverines! Gophers Travel To Ann Arbor For Big Ten Clash

FACTS & STATS: Crisler Arena (13,751) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Minnesota 13-1, Michigan 10-3. Away Record: Minnesota 1-3, Michigan 1-3. Neutral Record: Minnesota 0-0, Michigan 0-2. Conference Record: Minnesota 3-3, Michigan 1-5. Series Record: Michigan leads, 82-64.

GAME NOTES: The 15th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers face a stiff test Saturday when they travel to Crisler Arena to take on the Michigan Wolverines in Big Ten Conference action.

Minnesota continued a fine season this past Sunday in thumping Iowa, 69-59, for its third win in four games. A true team effort was led by Trevor Mbakwe's Big Ten-leading 11th double-double of the season and Ralph Sampson III set a new career high with seven blocks. The junior Mbakwe paced the Gophers with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while the 6-11 Sampson stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists to add to his own personal block party. Minnesota held the Hawkeyes to 37.3 percent shooting from the floor, won the battle of the boards by a 42-32 count and drained 27-of-37 at the free throw line. Iowa attempted just 11 foul shots. Al Nolen added 13 points and eight boards to the win.

Michigan's recent struggles continued Tuesday at Northwestern, resulting in a fifth consecutive loss. The Wildcats raced out to a 13-point lead at halftime after burying eight three-pointers in the opening period and led by as many as 22 points in the second half before settling on a 74-60 final. NU hit 10-of-24 overall from three-point range and shot 48.2 percent from the floor. Michigan managed to shoot just 39.7 percent from the field and was led by Stu Douglass' 17 points. Darius Morris scored 16 to reach double-figures for the 14th time this season as the Wolverines fell to a disappointing 1-5 in conference play.

Minnesota has dropped the last four games to the Wolverines. The last Gopher win in the series came back on February 21, 2008 at Williams Arena in head coach Tubby Smith's first year at the helm. The Gophers swept the season series that year, including their last win in Ann Arbor.

The Golden Gophers can beat teams in a number of ways with a balanced unit that features four double-figure scoring threats. Senior Blake Hoffarber leads the way with 13.8 points per game and Mbakwe posts 13.2 points and a team- leading 10.4 rebounds per contest. Devoe Joseph averages 11.2 points and Sampson adds 10.4 per game to go with 5.5 rebounds and a team-high 41 blocks. Nolen provides further depth with a 9.1-point per-game average, contributing to a healthy 73.2 points per game overall for the Gophers. Minnesota shoots 46.1 percent from the field and 33.0 percent on threes. Hoffarber tops the roster with 48 triples and shoots 39.7 percent from beyond. The Golden Gopher defense is also a source of pride, with teams shooting just 39.1 percent from the field and averaging 67.4 points. Minnesota owns a plus-5.4 margin in the rebounding department, averaging nearly 40.0 per game (39.8-34.4).

The Wolverines are led by Morris' 15.7-point average and 7.1 assists per game, good for second best in the Big Ten Conference. Tim Hardaway Jr. puts in 11.1 points per game to serve as Michigan's only other double-digit scorer. Zack Novak does provide a solid third option, though, checking in at 9.2 points while pacing the club in rebounding at 6.5 per. Jordan Morgan can also make his presence felt with 8.3 points and 6.1 rebounds while topping the roster with a 57.6 field-goal percentage. Overall, it's been a bit of a struggle for Michigan to light up the scoreboard. The Wolverines shot 43.3 percent from the floor and average 66.5 points. opponents counter with a 41.8-percent accuracy on field goals and 62.3 points per game. Michigan holds down the slimmest of edges on the glass (34.5-33.8).

Things don't figure to get any easier for the Wolverines on Saturday, as Minnesota looks to roll through another tough Big Ten foe after big wins over Purdue and Iowa to follow a crushing three-point setback to current No. 1 Ohio State. The Gophers are just too deep and too talented to let this one slip away, even in Ann Arbor.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Minnesota 66, Michigan 58

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Karel, Zastrow Lead Badgers Past Gophers, 71-63

Leah Cotton scored 24 points for the Gophers, but none of her teammates managed to hit double digits as the Gopher women's basketball team dropped their sixth consecutive Big Ten Conference game, a 71-63 decision to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Wisconsin guards Alyssa Karel and Lin Zastrow each scored 21 points for Wisconsin, who improved their overall record to 10-9, and pushed their Big Ten mark to 5-2.

The Gophers stayed remarkably close, considering that the team shot an awful 31.7% from the floor (20-for-63) on the night, and they even had a 44-30 lead going into the locker room at halftime. Then, the team completely fell apart in the second half, as the Badgers outscored them by a whopping 41-19 after halftime to give them the final 8-point margin of victory.

Things don't get any easier for Minnesota in their next outing, as they'll travel to East Lansing to take on #12 Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. Wisconsin's next game is a home date against Illinois on Sunday evening.

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Gopher Women Host Wisconsin Badgers This Evening

The Golden Gophers' women's basketball team will look to snap their five-game losing streak to start Big Ten play this evening as they will play host to the Wisconsin Badgers tonight at the Bierman Field Athletic Building.

This is the second time in two days these two teams have gotten together, as they met in Madison back on January 9. The Gophers trailed that one by 18 points with just under 11 minutes to play, but held the Badgers without a field goal in the last ten minutes of play and managed to claw back to within three, but the Badgers held on for a 47-42 victory.

Wisconsin only has a 9-9 overall record, but are currently 4-2 within the Big Ten Conference. The Gophers, thanks to their 0-5 mark in Big Ten play, have an overall mark of 8-10.

The Gophers are led in scoring by 5'11" junior guard Kiara Buford, who averages 15.1 point a game. 6'1" junior forward Jackie Voigt is the team's leading rebounder, averaging 6.2 boards per contest, and 5'3" senior guard China Antoine is the team's assist leader, averaging 4.6 assists per game.

Tip-off for tonight's game is scheduled for 7:30 PM Central time, and you can either watch the game on the Big Ten Network, or listen to the action on WCCO-AM 830.

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