C.J. Fair scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds as No. 8 Syracuse held off Minnesota 75-67 on Monday in the first round of the Maui Invitational. The Orange (5-0) pushed through a late run by the Golden Gophers, who pulled within 67-65 with little more than two minutes left.
Behind 26 points from junior guard Andre Hollins, Minnesota defeated Richmond 74-59 on the road in the refurbished Robins Center Saturday night. The Golden Gophers (3-0) avoided being upset in their only nonconference road game of the season. Austin Hollins and Malik Smith scored 11 points apiece on a night where neither team shot very well. Both teams shot under 40% from the field and 70% from the line. Senior Cedrick Lindsay paced the Spiders (2-1) with 15 points on 5 of 16 from the field. Deion Taylor scored 11 points and Terry Allen ripped down 12 rebounds for the home team.
Will it be enough for the Gophers to keep up in the tough, deep Big Ten? That’s the biggest of many questions about this team, which must find a way to counteract the loss of standout post players Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams.
Shooting guard Malik Smith will be able to play for Minnesota this season after coming from Florida International with coach Richard Pitino.
Guard Malik Smith has signed his tender to transfer from Florida International to Minnesota. Minnesota announced the completion of the transfer on Monday. Smith is following coach Richard Pitino to the Golden Gophers. He averaged 14.1 points per game as a junior starter for FIU last season.