MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Timberwolves get much-needed win
DALLAS - Kevin Martin scored 27 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 112-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
Kevin Love had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Monta Ellis had 26 points, six assists and six rebounds and Dirk Nowitzki added 23 points with six assists for the Mavericks, who have lost four of their last five games. With 6:33 left to play DeJuan Blair's putback brought Dallas within two points but that would be the closest the Mavs would come in the fourth quarter. Minnesota led by as much as 11 in the fourth despite the Mavericks' effort to come back.
Ryan O'Reilly beat Josh Harding through the legs in the shootout and Semyon Varlamov sealed the Colorado Avalanche's 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday with a snappy glove save at the other end. In the second game of a home-and-home, the Avalanche bounced back after giving up two goals in the last 3:27 of the third period, including Mikko Koivu's tying goal with 5.7 seconds left. The Avalanche won the opener 3-1 in St. Paul on Friday. Koivu was one of three Minnesota skaters to be denied by Varlamov in the Avs' first shootout of the season. Varlamov's glove save on Jason Pominville came after O'Reilly scored the shootout's only goal in the third round. Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon scored in regulation for Colorado, which has won five of six. Varlamov had 35 saves in his last game before he appears in court Monday on a misdemeanor assault charge. Three of the Avs' last five games have gone past regulation. They have won all three. Matt Cooke also scored for the Wild, who have lost four in a row and five of their last seven. Harding had 23 saves. However, the Wild do at least get a point from the shootout loss.
Jeremy Langford ran for a touchdown and Connor Cook threw for a score, as 11th-ranked Michigan State completed an undefeated Big Ten regular season with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota at Spartan Stadium Saturday. The Spartans did just enough offensively, scoring on their first possession of the game and their initial series of the second half, in a tune-up for next week's Big Ten championship game against Ohio State. Michigan State (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten) won its final eight games for its third unbeaten Big Ten regular season and first since accomplishing the feat in 1965 and 1966. The Spartans' lone loss came Sept. 21 in a 17-13 loss at Notre Dame. Langford finished with 134 yards on 21 carries in the victory, while Cook completed just 10-of-20 passes for 143 yards. Minnesota (8-4, 4-4) completed a successful regular season despite back-to- back losses after winning four in a row. The Gophers hadn't won as many as eight games in a season since the 2003 squad finished 10-3. Philip Nelson threw for just 77 yards with a pair of interceptions on 6-of-18 passing in defeat. David Cobb ran for 101 yards on 27 carries for the Gophers.
The University of Minnesota women's hockey team shout Princeton 6-0 in front of 2,158 fans at Ridder Arena Saturday afternoon. Dani Cameranesi had two goals for the No. 1 ranked Golden Gophers plus an assist. Hannah Brandt had a goal and an assist as did Kelly Terry while Rachel Bona and Meghan Lorence each had two assists. Winning goalie Amanda Leveillie made 11 saves. The Golden Gophers improve to 16-1-0 overall and will play Princeton again this afternoon at 1:07 p.m. at Ridder Arena.
The Minnesota Vikings will host their long-time rival Chicago for the final time at Mall of America Field on Sunday. This contest will mark the 32nd time, including playoffs, that the Bears will have played at the Metrodome, the most of any Vikings opponent. Minnesota is moving after the season to TCF Stadium, the home of the University of Minnesota, while its new venue in downtown Minneapolis, which is set to open for the 2016 season, is being built. The Bears handed the Vikings a heartbreaking 31-30 loss in the teams' first matchup of the season back in Week 2 on a last second TD, a development that foreshadowed Minnesota's disastrous season, which has included four different fourth-quarter collapses, including last's weeks 16-point implosion in Green Bay. Trailing 23-7 early in the final frame, the Packers scored 16 unanswered points with Matt Flynn under center to send that game into overtime. Green Bay's Mason Crosby and the Vikings' Blair Walsh each made field goals for their respective teams in the extra session, but neither team got much going on offense after that and ended in a 26-26 deadlock, the NFL's first tie since Nov. 11, 2012, when the 49ers and Rams played to a 24-24 stalemate.