GAME NOTES: After suffering losses in Monday's opening round, the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will face off in the consolation round of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday afternoon at the Lahaina Civic Center.
The consolation rounds continues on Wednesday when the winner of this matchup takes on either Gonzaga or Chaminade in the fifth-place game. The losers will tangle for seventh place.
Arkansas' season started off with three straight wins on its home floor, but its long trip to Maui did not provide positive dividends in the opening round, as it dropped an 85-77 matchup with California. It only held one lead in the game, a one-point advantage less than three minutes in, as it was outshot from the field, 47.5 percent to 37.5 percent, and outrebounded, 48-32, in the eight-point setback. In a rare occurrence, the Razorbacks' bench outscored their starting five, 64-13. Michael Qualls was the leading scorer with 21 points on 6-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Anthlon Bell added 16 points, and Rashad Madden chipped in 10 points.
After winning each of its first five games of the season on the mainland, Minnesota's experience in this event got off to a disappointing start as it suffered a 75-67 loss to eighth-ranked Syracuse to fall to the loser's bracket. The Gophers appeared down for the count early in the second half, as they found themselves trailing by 14 points. They gradually chipped away at the lead, however, and eventually got within two on a pair of free throw by Andre Hollins, but the Orange ripped off eight straight points to seal the win. Malik Smith was the top performer in the setback, scoring 16 points off the bench on 4-of-7 from 3-point range, while Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins put up 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Arkansas leads the all-time series with Minnesota, 2-1. The teams have not face each other since 1991.
The Razorbacks have been impressive on offense this season, as they are making nearly 46 percent of their field goal attempts (including 30-of-75 from 3- point range) on their way to 85.2 points per game. While they allow more points than they would like at the other end (72.8 ppg), they have still played ferocious defense by creating nearly 20 takeaways per game. Qualls is the well-rounded leader with 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Alandise Harris (15.8 ppg) has been busy and effective from the foul line (22-of-27), and Bell (13.3 ppg) has a team-high 12 3-pointers.
The Gophers have played very well at both ends of the floor this season, which is indicative of their strong margins in terms of scoring (+14.0), rebounding (6.2) and turnovers (+2.2). Andre Hollins is the offensive catalyst, as he leads the team in scoring (18.0 ppg) while draining 28-of-30 free-throw attempts (.933). Austin Hollins (12.8 ppg) and Joey King (10.0 ppg) also score in double figures, while DeAndre Mathieu (9.2 ppg, 5.3 apg) and Elliot Eliason (7.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.5 bpg) are strong role players.
Despite its loss in the opening round, Minnesota played well against a very good opponent, and while Arkansas is a formidable foe in its own right, the Gophers' balanced attack will likely be too much for the Razorbacks to handle.
Game Date and Time