Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gophers 88, Tigers 64

Well it was nice to see an old-fashioned blowout.

The Gophers were able to post a season high 126.0 offensive efficiency against the Tigers of Grambling, who did little to stop the Gophers attack, allowing the Gophers a sick 68.3 eFG%. The Gophers were able to do whatever they pleased as a number of times they threw lob passes to the rim for their big men or Vincent Grier for easy buckets. The Gophers also got a number of easy buckets against Grambling's ineffective full-court press.

However, this victory came at a price for the Gophers, as J'son Stamper left the game during the first half with a knee injury. The extent of the injury is unknown, but it looks like Stamper will sit out Friday against South Dakota State.

The game also marked the return of Jamal Abu-Shamala to the Gophers' rotation. This probably had a lot to do with the absence of Moe Hargrow, as he sat out because of a "violation of team policy." Vincent Grier will sit out Friday's game for the same violation.

But, back to the Gopher Hoops poster boy. Abu-Shamala made all five of his field goal attempts and finished with 13 points in 25 minutes. He did miss one free throw, but he has now made his last 11 field goal attempts, with his last miss coming Dec. 3 against Coastal Carolina. He has now raised his eFG% to 75.7 and his PPWS to 1.51. The fact that Monson brought him off the bench before Rico Tucker and played him more minutes might be a sign that he is considering giving Abu-Shamala a bigger role. I'm careful not to get too optimistic though.

Tucker was his usual, turnover-spewing self, racking up four in 19 minutes. This means Tucker is now averaging 3.2 turnovers while only playing 20 mpg. Tucker did however chip in six assists, snagged three steals and threw down a pretty spectacular dunk.

Spencer Tollackson looked like a man among boys against the Tigers, throwing in 17 points on 7 for 12 shooting. He also pulled down nine rebounds, seven coming on the offensive end. But he also committed four turnovers.

Grier led the team with 25 points in an efficient shooting performance (7-13 fgs, 11-13 fts). He also had five boards and six assists.

While Grier had a nice night at the line, the team continued its sub-par free-throw shooting, going 17 for 27 from the stripe. I'm starting to give up hope that this will ever improve.

John Gasaway over at Big Ten Wonk has now posted individual tempo-free statistics on his site. Get over and check these out often as they are the most useful tools for assessing individual performance.

-Grant Boelter

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