Hollins, Minnesota cruise past UCLA
Austin, TX – Andre Hollins had a game-high 28 points and made 5-of-8 shots from behind the arc to go along with nine rebounds as Minnesota outlasted UCLA, 83-63, on Friday in South Region second-round action of the NCAA Tournament.
Austin Hollins followed with 16 points and seven assists, while Trevor Mbakwe had nine points and 12 boards for the 11th-seeded Gophers (21-12), who advance to Sunday's third round to face third-seeded Florida.
"My teammates believe in me and they know I can make the shot and tonight I hit it, I hit the shot," Andre Hollins said. "It was some clutch threes that we really needed, they were trying to make a run. I'm just thankful for my teammates for giving me the ball when I was open."
Shabazz Muhammad paced UCLA with 20 points, while David Wear and Norman Powell each netted 10 in defeat for the sixth-seeded Bruins (25-10), who had missed the tournament two of the last three years and haven't made it past the first two rounds since they last made the Final Four in 2008.
UCLA's chances had already taken a blow before it made the postseason, as guard Jordan Adams, who averaged 15.3 points this season, broke his right ankle on the final play of the Bruins' Pac-12 tournament semifinal victory over Arizona.
Powell hit a 3-pointer just five minutes into the second half to cut UCLA's deficit to five, but Andre Hollins caught fire, scoring all 10 of Minnesota's points over the next two-plus minutes to make it a 54-42 advantage at the 12:57 mark.
Muhammad later scored two quick baskets, the last, a slam with 9 1/2 minutes to play that closed the gap to eight points, but the Gophers responded well.
This time, with a 16-4 spurt to all but end the Bruins' hopes for advancement. Andre Hollins and Joe Coleman had six points apiece during the run which helped Minnesota secure the victory, which was coach Tubby Smith's first NCAA Tournament win in six seasons.
"We were ready for a war and it's just unfortunate we didn't really shoot the ball too well," Wear said. "We played tough and rebounded well, but I mean, they just made more shots than we did."
The contest started slow, as UCLA held a 15-14 edge just about 11 minutes into the action. Things quickly changed, as 3-pointers from Austin and Andre Hollins kicked off a 19-4 run which saw the Gophers take control for a 33-19 advantage with 4:26 left before halftime.
It could have been much worse for the Bruins, but Minnesota had just one more basket to close the half, and UCLA chipped back to make it a 35-25 contest at the break.
Minnesota earned just its 12th NCAA Tournament berth ... The Bruins made their 45th overall NCAA Tournament appearance ... The teams last met in a 1997 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight match which the Golden Gophers won. Minnesota, though, was later stripped of its 1997 Final Four appearance due to violations ... The Gophers had missed the tournament the last two seasons ... Muhammad is expected to leave for the NBA Draft.