Rally falls short as Minnesota season ends 78-64

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 24, 2013
Just as he did two days earlier, Andre Hollins was hitting 3-pointers from just about anywhere he got an open look. Only this time, Minnesota was chasing a lead, not building one. And while the No. 11-seed Golden Gophers rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit to pull within seven of third-seeded Florida, the Gators eventually pulled away for a 78-64 win Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament South Regional. Hollins scored 25 points - he had 53 in Minnesota's two tournament games - and his hot shooting in the second half dug the Gophers out of a huge hole before foul trouble sidelined him for about four minutes. Without their floor leader and scorer, Minnesota let the Gators get away and reach the tournament round of 16 for the third consecutive year. When Hollins left the court, the Gophers (21-13) trailed by nine. By the time he returned, the Gators were up by 12 all momentum was lost. ''We couldn't get any flow,'' Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. ''When your point guard is your best shooter and your best scorer, it makes it tough.'' The Gators (28-7) rode into the tournament as one of the best defensive teams in the country and backed that up in their first two games of the tournament. After thrashing Northwestern State, the Southeastern Conference regular-season champs shoved aside the Gophers of the Big Ten in a 20-minute show of muscle and offensive firepower. Mike Rosario scored 25 points for the Gators on 8 of 12 shooting, including 6 of 9 on3-pointers. Defensively, the Gators denied just about everything the Gophers tried in the first half. Florida tied up Gophers shooters at the perimeter, challenged layups and blocked a dunk when Casey Prather stuffed Minnesota's muscular Trevor Mbakwe in a clear statement that Florida would be as tough as anything the Gophers faced in the Big Ten. Offensively, it seemed like Florida shooters couldn't miss. Rosario made four 3-pointers and Florida led by 22 with 5 minutes left in half. Minnesota gathered itself for a brief burst when Hollins knocked down consecutive 3-pointers and a steal and layup trimmed Florida's lead to 39-23. If the Gophers could have pulled within 10 by halftime, they might have been able to grab a lead in the second. Instead, the Gators scored nine straight points to roll into the locker room leading 48-27. Minnesota wasn't ready to roll over just yet. ''I knew that team would have a lot of pride,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. ''I knew they would respond.'' Hollins made three 3-pointers in an 11-2 run that took some of the swagger out of the Gators. Minnesota kept chipping away and trimmed the Florida lead to 53-46 with 12 minutes left. ''We didn't just hang our heads,'' Hollins said. ''We just had to come out blazing.'' But Hollins soon picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench. The Gophers had lost their first shooting option and by the time he returned, the Gators had built the lead back to 12 before a 7-0 run all but closed it out. The Gophers started the season 15-1 but limped into the tournament after losing five of their last 11 games. They rebounded with an impressive win over UCLA on Friday that earned Smith his first tournament victory in six seasons at the program. Minnesota's disappointing finish in the regular season had led to some speculation that Smith's job could be in danger. After the loss Sunday, Smith said he had no indication he could be fired. Hollins said he's excited about the Gophers' future. ''We can do some good things next year,'' Hollins said. ''We're going to be a tough team ... We had a taste of what the NCAA tournament is like and we'll have to strive to get back here.''
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The most unhealthy breakfasts from across the country
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Relationship between Jeff Fisher, Rams GM is ‘toxic’

Ex-Eagle: Strippers told him that Donovan McNabb hated him

Admiral rips Kaepernick during Pearl Harbor speech

Kevin Love has great tweet about his mucous malfunction

Houston AD seemingly refutes Kiffin rumors with clever tweet

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dana White: Conor McGregor will appear on ‘Game of Thones’

Report: Aroldis Chapman signs with Yankees

Le’Veon Bell thinks Giants were trying to hurt him

White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for haul of impressive prospects

Looking at NFL injuries that could impact the Super Bowl chase

Report: RG3 to start Sunday barring health setback

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Four stinkiest games remaining on the 2016 NFL schedule

Ten young NBA players developing into stars

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

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

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

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