Richard Pitino may or may not be a mad scientist but the formula he whipped up against No. 11 ranked Ohio State was perfect. The Gophers played solid defense as per usual but instead of living and dying by the three pointer, the Gophers pounded the ball into Elliott Eliason who finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the Gophers 63-53 win.
"It was certainly a great win for us. I thought we played tremendous defense," head coach Richard Pitino said. "Elliott Eliason obviously impacted the game in so many ways. He was huge for us. We finally started to go inside, and it was big for our basketball players. It was a great win. We've got to certainly learn from our mistakes and continue to get better."
Leading by four with under five minutes to play Minnesota used a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 11 and seal the win.
"We have had some close games against Big 10 teams this year," junior guard DeAndre Mathieu said. "We talked to each other during the halftime that we are going to finish it this time. This time we had to finish it to let Michigan know that we can finish the game really good too."
Mathieu finished with 13 points while dishing five assists and pulling down four rebounds in the win. The Gophers shot only 14 three-pointers in the win that boosts their conference record to 3-2 overall.
Eliason was named captain earlier in the week for his consistent play and he showed up big giving Pitino and the Gophers a signature Big 10 win.
"We lost one on the road, and we needed a bounce back as a team," Eliason said. "You know they were really hungry as they came off from two tough losses as well. So we were prepared to play with these hungry and talented players."
The Gophers take to the road to face Iowa on Sunday afternoon. The Hawkeyes are currently 3-1 in conference play.