Jan 22, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Gophers guard Maverick Ahanmisi (13) and forward Oto Osenieks (10) and center Elliott Eliason (55) cheer from the bench in the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Williams Arena. The Gophers defeated the Badgers 81-68. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Losing your leading scorer on the first possession of the game wasn’t part of the game plan for Minnesota against rival Wisconsin on Wednesday night. Yet, despite playing the remainder of the game without junior Andre Hollins, the Gophers managed to run away with an upset over the No. 9 Badgers at Williams Arena, 81-68.
Filling in the void offensively, transfer guard DeAndre Mathieu scored 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and five rebounds. Another transfer player, Malik Smith, played the majority of Hollins’ time on the court, stepping in for 34 minutes and contributing 14 points and three assists.
But the surprise of the night was redshirt junior Mo Walker, who finished with a career-high 18 points and nine rebounds (five offensive) off the bench, including hitting all three of his free throws on the night. The Canadian big man scored 14 points in the first half to break a previous career-high of 12.
As for the Badgers, center Frank Kaminsky was largely a non-factor due to early foul trouble that limited his minutes. He finished with nine points and four rebounds while seeing 15 minutes of playing time. As for the face of Badgers basketball, Sam Dekker scored 20 points to lead all scorers.
Minnesota shot 51.7 percent from the field to close out a four-game stretch against ranked opponents with a 2-2 record. Meanwhile for Wisconsin, they finished shooting 39.3 percent. The loss was their third in a row after starting the season 16-0.
Next up for Richard Pitino and Minnesota is an away game against Nebraska on Sunday. If the Gophers can win on Sunday, look for Minnesota to crack the Top 25 for the first time this season next week.