MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Celtics edge Timberwolves
Boston big man Jared Sullinger dropped in 24 points with 11 rebounds and five assists to lead the Celtics to a 101-97 win over the Timberwolves in Boston last night. Avery Bradley added 19 points while Jordan Crawford chipped in 15 for Boston. The Celtics have won five out of seven. Kevin Love finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota while Nikola Pekovic contributed 13 points and seven boards. Dante Cunningham added 12 points off the bench for the Wolves, who had won three out of four. Minnesota hosts Portland tomorrow.
Timberwolves star Kevin Love will personally deliver more than 45-hundred coats to the Salvation Army in Minneapolis today. The "Sixth Annual Kevin Love Coat Drive" began in November to help those in need. Twenty of the kids receiving coats will be on hand to meet Love and get his autograph. Fans donating coats at the Target Center box office are receiving two tickets to a January Wolves games as a thank you. So far, more coats have been donated this year than any other. The drive wraps up on Wednesday.
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale is expected to be back on the bench tomorrow when the team hosts the Chicago Bulls at the Toyota Center. McHale has been away from the team since last Wednesday following the death of his mother. McHale is a former head coach and front office member of the Timberwolves and played college basketball for the Golden Gophers. He is a Hibbing native. His mother's funeral was in Hibbing last week. The Rockets have dropped two-of-three to dip to 16-and-9 on the season.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier says quarterback Matt Cassel will remain the team's starting quarterback for the final two games of the season, unless the veteran is injured. Cassel has played well in relief of usual starter Christian Ponder on several occasions this season and now has started two games in a row, including a win this past weekend over Baltimore. Frazier says Cassel has a veteran presence that has been a key to his success. Minnesota is at Cincinnati this coming Sunday.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hitting the streets looking for a new punter. Kevin Huber is out for the season with a broken jaw and a cracked vertebrae after being hit by Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin in Sunday's loss. The Bengals will hold auditions for punters today, and the winner will have to face NFL's two top-ranked punt return teams in the Vikings and Ravens. Minnesota visits Cincy on Sunday.
The University of Minnesota football team will take today off, as they get ready for the December 27th Texas Bowl in Houston. The 8-and-4 Golden Gophers play 6-and-6 Syracuse in the bowl game. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill put his team through the first few practices late last week and over the weekend. The team returns to the practice field tomorrow and will eventually leave for Texas on Saturday.
Golden Gopher senior guard Austin Hollins of Germantown, Tennessee has been named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Week for his work in Minnesota's 75-59 win over South Dakota State last week. Hollins scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, while also entering the 1000-point club in the win. This is the first time he's won the Big Ten weekly honor and he's the first Gopher player to earn the citation since Trevor Mbakwe did so last March. The Gophers host Nebraska-Omaha on Friday night at Williams Arena at 8 p.m.
The University of Minnesota men's hockey team has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the U-S College Hockey Online Poll. The 12-2-and-2 Gophers were idle last weekend, but then top-ranked St.Cloud State tied and lost to number-ten Union at home. The 11-2-and-3 Huskies dropped to No. 4 this week. Ferris State is second and Michigan is ranked third. The 19-and-1 Golden Gopher women continue their two-plus year run as the top-ranked team in the nation.
The Minnesota Wild are back home to take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight in St. Paul. Minnesota will then head back out for a four-game road trip to Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia and Winnipeg. The Wild went 1-and-2 on their recent three-game trek to the west coast. They sit at 19-11-and-5 on the season. The Canucks have won seven straight to improve to 20-10-and-5. The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. this evening. Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund skated with the team at practice yesterday, but is doubtful for tonight's game.