MINNEAPOLIS - Thanks to 21 points from Trevor Mbakwe and 16 points from Dre Hollins, the Minnesota Golden Gophers knocked off the No. 1 ranked Indiana Hoosiers 77-73 on Tuesday night.
The Gophers had a strong first half from Mbakwe, who seemed to be willing his teammates to snap out of their two-game losing streak.
Mbakwe finished the first half with 12 points and six rebounds. He added six more rebounds in the second half.
The Gophers (19-9, 7-8 Big Ten) outrebounded Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers by a whopping 44-30 and solidified their slipping NCAA tournament case with an emphatic performance against the Big Ten leaders.
The Gophers shot the ball better and turned it over less. Those were two things that coach Tubby Smith really focused on this week in practice.
Minnesota shot 42.9 percent from the field compared to 29.2 percent against Ohio State. They also limited the number of turnovers to 10. They had 17 turnovers against Ohio State and 21 against Iowa.
"We were pretty embarassed and we wanted to kind of come out here and (forget) the last two games and start fresh," Mbakwe said after the game.
He said playing a No. 1 team and having the national spotlight shine on Minnesota offered a big challenge.
"It was a true test for all of us and we came out ready to play," Mbakwe said.
Jordan Hulls led the Hoosiers with 17 points. Zeller was held to nine points with four turnovers for the Hoosiers (24-4, 12-3), who have held the No. 1 ranking for 10 of 17 polls this season including the last four. Victor Oladipo scored 16 points.
Gophers fans rushed the court as the last seconds ticked off, the first time that's happened here in years.
"It was so awesome," one Gophers fan said. "After the game we stormed the court. The security guards couldn't hold us back. It was crazy, but actually we were pretty law-abiding."
Another fan said, "I just got off the phone with my mom and I was like, 'That was absolutely my best college moment.' I'm so glad I got to be part of it. I'm still shaking."
Tuesday's game was the fourth time the Gophers have knocked off a No. 1 ranked team. It is the seventh time that the top-ranked team in The Associated Press' poll has lost a game this season.
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