Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/22/11
MINNEAPOLIS When the University of Minnesota mens basketball team needed to answer against North Dakota State, sophomore guard Maverick Ahanmisi stepped up to the challenge.Ahanmisi made two key first-half three-pointers and added six points after halftime to help the Gophers hold off the Bison, 63-59, on Thursday at Williams Arena.Ahanmisi finished with a career-high 13 points, along with three rebounds, three assists and three steals to help Minnesota improve to 12-1 as it enters Big Ten play next week."Maverick, thank God he was on tonight and playing well, Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. "Hes playing with a lot of poise.After Minnesota fell behind 14-2 early to the Bison, the Gophers clawed their way back. They finally tied the game at 19-19 on a Rodney Williams dunk, then again at 21-21 on another dunk by Williams. But after NDSUs Dylan Hale hit a 3-pointer, Ahanmisi answered with the first of his two 3-pointers to even the score at 24-24.Not long after that, Ahanmisi again answered with another 3-pointer that tied it at 27. His 3-point shooting helped Minnesota hold on to a 32-29 lead at the half."I thought his two (3-pointers) in particular, once he hit his second one, that changed the way that we had to defend that screen and roll a little bit, NDSU coach Saul Phillips said of Ahanmisi. "He looked comfortable doing it. You look not only as a coach are they making it, but do they look comfortable. He looked comfortable and looked confident.The two early baskets got Ahanmisi on a role, but he deflected much of the credit."That really gave me confidence, but other than that, our bench was really helping us out, he said. "They were just telling us what to do on the court. They just tell us little things that we dont see when were playing. That really helps a lot, too.Early in the second half, it appeared as if the Gophers might pull away. Minnesota took a 41-32 lead with around 16 minutes to play. But the visiting Bison hung tough and climbed back to take a 53-52 lead. Ahanmisi then scored the next six points for the Gophers to give Minnesota a 58-55 lead on a long two-point shot.While he notched a career-high 13 points besting his previous high of 10 Ahanmisi had a turnover late in the second half that could have been costly. With Minnesota holding a 59-57 lead, Ahanmisi drove the lane and coughed the ball up. The Bison couldnt capitalize on the other end, however, and Minnesota eventually held on."He had one turnover there that was a bad turnover, but I thought he was able to do some other stuff to help us out a lot, Smith said.Thursday marked Ahanmisis third consecutive start after coming off the bench for Minnesotas first 10 games. His role has increased as true freshman point guard Andre Hollins has been hobbled by an ankle injury.In his last start prior to Thursday, Ahanmisi scored 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers and had three assists in a win over Central Michigan. He continued to grow comfortable in his new role Thursday with a career night."I feel like I can step in and fill that role, Ahanmisi said. "But were a team, so were going to need everybody. Come Big Ten play, were really going to need to step up.A trip to Fargo in the Gophers future? After the game, Phillips was asked if NDSU and Minnesota had talked about playing a future game in Fargo. The two squads have played several times in recent years in Minneapolis and will play again at Williams Arena next year but the Bison havent hosted the Gophers during Smiths tenure.Phillips said that game would be the biggest North Dakota State mens basketball even in Fargo in a long time if they hosted it at the Fargodome. He even said hed cook dinner for the Gophers if that would help sweeten the deal."Thats not going to do it, Smith said. "Are they going to cook some bison meat?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker