MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Wolves exercise option on Rubio, Williams
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have exercised their fourth-year options on guard Ricky Rubio and forward Derrick Williams. Rubio was drafted fifth overall in 2009, but joined the team for the 2011-12 season after playing in Europe. He averaged 10.7 points and 7.3 assists in 57 games last season with the Wolves. Williams was taken second overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. He posted averages of 12 points and 5.5 rebounds in 78 games with Minnesota last year.
The Arizona Cardinals may be looking for a new face of their franchise come this offseason. ESPN reports the Cards are willing to trade wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of Minneapolis following the season. The NFL's trade deadline is on Tuesday, but according to the report, a deal is not likely in the coming days. His salary cap hit will be 18-million dollars next year, and the team can save eight-million with a trade. Fitzgerald was drafted third overall in 2004 out of Pittsburgh. Last season was statistically his worst with 71 catches 798 yards and four touchdowns. He is the team's all-time leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers overcame an early 10-point hole to rally and defeat the No. 21 Nebraska Cornhuskers 34-23 on Saturday in Minneapolis. The team got two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Philip Nelson of Mankato. Nelson also threw for 152 yards and a TD for Minnesota, which improved to 6-and-2 and 2-and-2 in the Big Ten. David Cobb ran for 138 yards on 31 carries in the win. Taylor Martinez passed for 139 yards, a score and an interception for Nebraska, which dropped to 5-and-2 and 2-and-1 in conference play. Imani Cross ran for a touchdown in defeat. The Golden Gophers visit Indiana this Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. game. The Hoosiers did not have a game this past weekend.
The seventh-ranked University of Minnesota volleyball team beat Northwestern 3-1 in Minneapolis yesterday. The win pushed the Golden Gopher season record to 19-and-4 on the season and 7-and-3 in the Big Ten. Northwestern is 13-and-9 and 5-and-5. The Gophers next travel to Purdue and Indiana this Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
The top-ranked Golden Gopher men's hockey team scored four first period goals and never looked back in beating No. 5 Boston College yesterday at Mariucci Arena. Nate Condon, Seth Ambroz, Mike Reilly, Brady Skjei, Michael Brodzinski, and Jake Bischoff all tallied for Minnesota, which moved to 5-0-and-1 with the victory. Minnesota is idle this coming weekend.
The Buffalo Sabres have traded left wing Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders. The Isles will send forward Matt Moulson, a first round pick in next year's draft and a second round pick in 2015 to Buffalo. Vanek has four goals and nine points in 13 games this season. The former fifth-overall selection has played all nine seasons of his NHL career with the Sabres. Vanek is a former Golden Gopher star, who has a residence in the Twin Cities. He is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season.
The Minnesota Wild have sent goaltender Johan Gustafsson back to Iowa, just two days after the team called him up. He provided depth to the roster at the goaltending position, but did not play in a game. The 21-year-old netminder is 2-and-0 at Iowa with a 1.99 goals against average. \Minnesota is hosting Chicago tonight to close out a two-game, home-and-home against the defending Stanley Cup champs. The Wild beat Chicago 5-3 on Saturday in the Windy City. Tonight's game in St. Paul is set for 7 p.m.