Associated Press, Published November 27 2013
Second half helps Gophers beat ChaminadeLAHAINA, Hawaii – Minnesota came to Hawaii looking to make a statement on a national stage. It needed a comeback against a Division II school Wednesday to avoid leaving the islands winless.
DeAndre Mathieu scored 17 points and Minnesota came back in the second half to beat Chaminade
83-68 at the Maui Invitational.
“This is probably the most proud I have been of the guys this season because we had so much to lose and they had so much to gain,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said.
The Golden Gophers turned around a nine-point deficit in the second half by forcing the Division II school into bad shots and five turnovers over the final 10 minutes.
“(Mathieu) finally decided to defend like a fast point guard,” Pitino said. “When he started to turn up the head, the guys started to feed off him.”
Down 59-53 with 9 minutes, 27 seconds left, Minnesota prevented Chaminade from making it past midcourt within 10 seconds, leading to a second consecutive layup for Maurice Walker. Malik Smith cut the deficit to 3 points on Minnesota’s next possession.
Minnesota (6-2) then went on a 13-point run during which Chaminade committed three turnovers and missed five 3-pointers. Austin Hollins gave Minnesota its first lead of the second half at 65-64 with a 3-pointer from the left wing with less than seven minutes remaining.
“One bad stretch, one four-minute stretch killed us,” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said.
Bovaird said Minnesota turned up its pressure and gave his team trouble getting into set plays.
“Twenty turnovers is way, way too much,” Bovaird said. “We’re a much better team than that.”
Minnesota shot just over 41 percent in the second half after shooting under 36 percent the first 20 minutes. Minnesota made just two of 12 3-pointers in the first half.
Smith had 16 points while Walker had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Golden Gophers lost to No. 8 Syracuse on Monday and Arkansas on Tuesday. Minnesota placed seventh in the tournament.
“There’s nothing I’m really disappointed about in this win. Chaminade is a good team and that is their national championship,” Pitino said.
Lee Bailey scored 18 points for the Silverswords (2-3). Frankie Etuati scored 13 points while Kevin Hu had 12. After making more than half its shots in the first half, Chaminade made just nine of 28 field goals in the second half.
Christophe Varidel, who scored 42 points in an opening Maui loss to No. 18 Baylor, scored just seven points and made one of nine 3-point shots.