Minnesota Sports Roundup: Wolves get a big road win over DenverMinnesota Sports
-- Minnesota's J.J. Barea led six scorers in double figures with 17 points as the Timberwolves squeaked past the Nuggets 101-97 in the Mile High City last night.
DENVER - Minnesota's J.J. Barea led six scorers in double figures with 17 points as the Timberwolves squeaked past the Nuggets 101-97 in the Mile High City last night.
It was only Denver's second loss at home this season. Minnesota forward Kevin Love added 12 points and 17 rebounds, but he left the game in the third quarter with a sprained finger. The T'wolves moved to 15-and-14. Ty Lawson scored 16 points off the bench after missing Tuesday's game. Kosata Koufas posted 16 points and seven boards in the loss. The Nuggets dropped to 18-and-16. Minnesota will host Portland tomorrow night.
Longtime division rivals meet in an NFC Wild Card Game as the Minnesota Vikings play the Green Bay Packers Saturday night at Lambeau Field. It's a rematch of Sunday's regular-season finale at the Metrodome. Minnesota had to beat Green Bay to get into the playoffs and pulled out a 37-34 win on Blair Walsh's 29-yard field goal as time expired. Christian Ponder threw three touchdown passes and Adrian Peterson rushed for 199 yards for the Vikes, who claimed the NFC's sixth seed at 10-and-6. Aaron Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four scores for the Packers, who failed to claim the conference's second seed and a first-round bye. Green Bay had already clinched the NFC North title and finished 11-and-5. The Packers beat the Vikings 23-14 at home in Week 13.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was limited in practice yesterday, the second straight day he sat out most of the team's drills to rest his injured elbow. Ponder hurt his throwing elbow when it slammed against a helmet while he was making a throw in last week's win over Green Bay. Head coach Leslie Frazier says he fully expects Ponder to play in Green Bay this weekend. He says Ponder is trying to get the elbow "to calm down a bit."
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and kicker Blair Walsh have won NFC awards. Peterson was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month after rushing for 861 yards and five touchdowns in December. Walsh is the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for his efforts in making 11 out of 12 field goals, including a perfect five-for-five mark from beyond 50 yards.
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team dropped its Big Ten opener last night to Michigan State 66-51 in East Lansing. The Golden Gophers got 17 points from leading scorer Rachel Banham of Lakeville. Banham capped a 9-0 Gopher run to give Minnesota 39-38 lead midway through the second half, but the home-standing Spartans rallied with an 8-0 run to take control and win the contest. Minnesota is now 11-4 overall and will play at Wisconsin on Sunday.
The University of Minnesota men's basketball team is back in action on Sunday when they host Northwestern at Williams Arena. Minnesota started Big Ten play with a 76-63 win over Michigan State on Monday. The 13th-ranked Gophers are 13-1 overall. Northwestern started Big Ten play last night with a loss to No 2 Michigan 94-66. The Wildcats are 9-5 on the season.
Gopher standout men's hockey forward Eric Haula will miss at least the next two weeks with a hand injury. Haula is one of the top players for the top-ranked Minnesota team. The Golden Gophers will host No. 3 Notre Dame on Tuesday night in Minneapolis. Haula suffered the hand injury during a game last weekend.
Negotiations between the NHL and players continued on Thursday. Both sides will reportedly meet again this morning starting at 9 a.m. The players are expected to vote again to give their executive board authority to file a "disclaimer of interest," effectively allowing individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the league. The vote would come if talks regarding a new collective bargaining agreement break down. The first vote was held last month over a five-day period and passed with a large majority. The next vote is expected to move quicker as time to save a season is running out. The Wild have had their first 39 games wiped out. Minnesota was to have hosted Calgary last night. The league has already canceled games through January 14th and Commissioner Gary Bettman says a deal must be in place by next week so a 48-game season can start January 19th.