MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Wolves now 0-10 in games decided by four points or less as Phoenix wins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Gerald Green scored 14 points, but none were bigger than his jumper late in the fourth quarter that pushed the Phoenix Suns past the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-103, at Target Center. Markieff Morris dropped a pass off to Green, who buried a corner jumper while falling out of bounds that put the Suns up with 3.9 seconds left. Kevin Martin drove the lane on the ensuing Minnesota possession and missed a three-foot runner as time expired. Goran Dragic scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help the Suns snap a two-game losing streak against the Wolves. Martin tallied 20 points for Minnesota, which dropped to 0-10 this season in games decided by four points or less. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love both recorded double-doubles in the loss as Pekovic posted 17 points with 12 rebounds and Love finished with 15 points and 12 boards. Love, however, shot 4-for-20 from the floor, including 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Elliott Eliason registered a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds as the Minnesota Golden Gophers slipped by the Penn State Nittany Lions, 68-65, in Big Ten Conference action at the Bryce Jordan Center. DeAndre Mathieu scored a team-best 16 points for Minnesota (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), while Andre Hollins pitched in with 14 points, although he shot just 4-of-12 from the field as the team won for the eighth time in the last nine outings. Minnesota survived the meeting despite converting a mere 4-of-16 behind the 3-point line on the night.
Foul trouble hampered the University of Minnesota (11-5, 0-2) women's basketball team as it dropped a Big Ten contest at Iowa (13-4, 1-2), 78-71, Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Junior Rachel Banham was back in prime form and paced the Golden Gophers with 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting, which included a 4-for-8 showing from beyond the arch. Amanda Zahui B. also had an impressive outing, as she posted her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds to go along with two blocks and two steals. Sari Noga chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds, as she was 5-of-10 from three-point range. As a team, the Gophers shot .450 from the field and .450 from beyond the arch, while the Hawkeyes notched a .490 field goal percentage, but registered just a .286 three-point field goal percentage. Iowa did, however, go 26-for-28 from the free throw line as Minnesota committed 24 fouls. The Gophers return to Williams Arena Sunday for a Big Ten match-up vs. Northwestern. Tip off for the contest is slated for 2:00 p.m., with the game also serving as Alumni Day.
The Minnesota Wild put their three game winning streak on the line tonight when they travel to Glendale, Arizona to face the Phoenix Coyotes. The Wild are coming off a 2-1 shootout win on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. In that one, goaltender Darcy Kuemper was given his third start of the season when Niklas Backstrom was deemed not well enough to start. Kuemper responded with 39 saves plus stopped 4 of 4 in the shootout to notch the victory. Forward Nino Niederreiter supplied the only Wild goal in both regulation and the shootout. While the Coyotes are just 3-4-4 in their last 11 they'll be coming in hot off a 6-0 win over Calgary on Tuesday night. Game time is 8 p.m. tonight.
There are questions to be answered tonight for the Wild as they prepare for the Phoenix Coyotes. The biggest question is who gets the start in goal. If Backstrom is 100%, does head coach Mike Yeo continue to sit him regardless considering how rookie Darcy Kuemper played on Tuesday in Los Angeles? There's also questions in regards to who is healthy. Defenseman Marco Scandella is the latest Wild player to suffer from a blocked shot and did not participate in Wednesday's Wild practice. If he can't go that probably clears the way for Jonathan Blum to make his Minnesota Wild debut. Already the Wild are without Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jared Spurgeon and Josh Harding as all currently sit on the injured reserve list.
Former Minnesota Twins pitcher and Saint Paul native Jack Morris will not be going into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July. Morris received 61-and-a-half percent of this year's vote - a six-point decline from the 2013 ballot. MLB TV analyst Jon Heyman said he was disappointed and shocked that Morris went backwards in his 15th and final year of eligibility. Players elected to the Class of 2014 are Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Morris will be eligible for the Expansion Era Committee's ballot in three years.