Shabazz Muhammad

As the crowd inside the Erwin Center began to thin out, Minnesota took control against UCLA and pulled out a 20-point win with an 83-63 drubbing of the Bruins.

The Gophers led by ten points at the half and caused the Bruins fits offensively all night. UCLA would finish the game shooting 32-percent from the field, and although leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad would go on to score 20 points, he missed his first seven shots and would not score until early in the second half. Muhammad went 0-of-6 from beyond the three point line. Head coach Ben Howland used just seven players, and save for Muhammad, the Bruins had tons of trouble finding the bottom of the net. Forward Travis Wear got into foul trouble early and was rendered ineffective for much of the game.

"We switched and denied the ball lots of times and made [Muhammad] work a little harder," Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. "Our bench gave us a lot of production tonight and I thought that wore them down to where we could pull away in the end."

Andre Hollins exploded for 28 points nine rebounds and five assists as the Gophers extended their halftime lead and forced the Bruins into bad shots and 15 total turnovers. The Gophers scored 15 points off the fast break and muscled their way to 34 points in the paint.

"[Andre] Hollins was unbelievable tonight," Bruins head coach Ben Howland said.

Minnesota’s other Hollins, Austin, scored 16 points and dished out seven of the Gophers’ 19 team assists.

"I thought Austin and Andre did a fantastic job," Smith said. "They were on tonight."

The Gophers led by as many as 23 points in the second half and did not allow UCLA to score a basket in the game’s final two minutes. Minnesota moves on to face Florida at 5:10 p.m. Sunday night at the Erwin Center.

"Well, Billy Donovan's teams I've had a lot of wars with in the SEC," Smith said. "They have size. We are similar teams, we both like to get out and run, we both like to press. It will be an interesting game."

He faced allegations that he received impermissible benefits to pay for out-of-state trips earlier this year. He came into this season with extremely high expectations but began the year on the bench while the NCAA investigated those allegations.

Sound familiar?

It does for UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad, who missed the Bruins’ first three games this year and paid back $1,600 for accepting payment for unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina while he was still in high school.

Texas sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo, on the other hand, is still being investigated by the NCAA, which is looking into whether an agent paid for a trip to Cleveland during the offseason. He has missed each of the Longhorns’ eight games this year and his void has been sorely noticeable.

The Longhorns committed 21 turnovers in a 64-41 loss to No. 15 Georgetown during Tuesday night’s Jimmy V Classic at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. They set Rick Barnes-era lows for points (41) and field goal percentage (29.2) in the loss. Kabongo’s replacement, freshman Javan Felix, scored four points on 1-for-9 shooting while committing five turnovers on his own.

“In a 40 minute game not everything is going to go well,” Barnes said. “I have to do a better job of helping them understand — they don’t understand what goes into losing. If you understand the will to win then you won’t make the same mistakes over and over again.”

Muhammad, who scored 15 points in his UCLA debut, a 78-70 loss to that same Georgetown team, was the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2012, according to He is one of many talented players on the Bruins’ roster, but UCLA, like Texas, currently sits at 5-3.

The Bruins and Longhorns will square off on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. at Reliant Stadium in Houston as part of the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Showcase. UCLA’s and Texas’ women’s basketball squads face each other to kick off the event with a game that tips off at 1:30 p.m.

While the Longhorns have struggled offensively, averaging just 61.9 points per game and committing 19.1 turnovers per game, the eighth-most in the country, their defensive numbers are stellar. Texas is allowing only 56.8 points per game, the 25th-fewest in the nation, and is holding opponents to 32 percent shooting from the floor — the best mark by any Division I team.
Texas is a young team. Barnes has three freshmen in his starting lineup — Felix, Cameron Ridley and Demarcus Holland — with Jaylen Bond nursing a foot injury and Sheldon McClellan, the team’s leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, coming off the bench.

But the Longhorns, whose schedule is unforgiving this month, may have to grow up fast.