College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, November 26, 2009
The Minnesota Golden Gophers usually fall somewhere in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten standings, still, they are a force with which to be reckoned year in and year out. Proving that they field a solid team once again in 2009, the Gophers advanced their early record to 4-0, with an impressive, 82-73, win over #12 Butler in the opening round of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, California.
Ranked #22, but certain to improve upon that by next week, the Gophers shot an even .500 for the game while limiting the Bulldogs to 33% shooting, including 22% from behind the 3-point line. Minnesota hit 9-19 on threes, their 47% accuracy one of the keys to victory.
Leading the way was senior forward, Damian Johnson, who tickled the twine for a team-high 18 points. Johnson also added 3 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals and a blocked shot in just 25 minutes on the floor. Fouling out for the first time this season did not deter him from setting a personal season-high in scoring. Johnson hit 7-of-8 shots from the floor, including his only 3-point attempt and all three free throws.
Three other Gophers scored in double figures, and ten players scored overall. The Bulldogs were led by Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack, who tallied 23 and 20, respectively.
NOTABLE: Autumn has not been a good time for Oklahoma athletics. First, the football team lost their Heisman winning QB, Sam Bradford, for the season and are a lowly 6-5 right now. Now, it seems the same bad karma has found its way to the basketball team, which lost its third straight game Thursday, dropping a 100-93 decision to Houston. While poor defense and poor shooting had caused their demise the previous two games, Thursday's effort was clearly a case of simple mishandling of the rock. The Sooners turned the ball over 18 times, while shooting 54% from the floor, 42% from the 3-point line and 82% of their free throws. Ranked #25 on Sunday, Oklahoma's 2-3 record isn't going to garner many votes this time around.
#15 Michigan was taken into overtime by Creighton, out of the Mid-American conference, eventually getting the win, 83-76, at the Old Spice Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Wolverines were led by Manny Harris' 20 points, 11 assists and 9 boards. Harris didn't get any pine time during the game, playing all 45 minutes.