MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gophers use a strong second half start to defeat Florida State
The Golden Gopher men's basketball team outscored Florida State 10-to-1 to start the second half and build a 15-point cushion. The advantage held up in a 71-61 Minnesota win over the Seminoles at Williams Arena last night. Florida State cut the Gopher lead to four on multiple occasions, but could get no closer. Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino says he told his team at halftime that they must come out focused to begin the second half and the squad answered the bell. Andre Hollins scored 21 points to pace Minnesota. Teammate Austin Hollins added 16 points. The Golden Gophers are now 7-and-2 on the season, while F-S-U fell to 5-and-3. The game featured 52 fouls called and 67 free throws attempted. Minnesota hosts New Orleans on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Barn.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs are set to tip off this evening south of the border. Mexico City is hosting the two NBA Western Conference foes as part of an international outreach initiative by the league. The Wolves are coming off of Sunday night's 113-103 loss at Oklahoma City, while the Spurs beat the Hawks on Monday night 102-100 in Texas. San Antonio has the best record in the NBA Western Conference at 15-and-3. Minnesota is currently out of playoff position with a season mark of 9-and-10. Tonight's tipoff is set for 8:30 pm.
The Minnesota Vikings will be back on the practice field later today at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. The Vikes are coming off of a 23-20 overtime win over Chicago on Sunday. They were given the day off yesterday. The team will travel to Baltimore for a game on Sunday.
Running back Adrian Peterson turned a ceremonial shovel of dirt at yesterday's groundbreaking for the new 975-million-dollar Vikings stadium. Peterson says he's excited to take part in a special day in Minnesota history, and adds it will be exciting for the state, the fans and the city of Minneapolis. Peterson joked one thing he's not looking forward to is playing outside for two seasons, when the Vikes will be at TCF Bank Stadium on the U-of-M campus. The new NFL stadium is scheduled to open for the 2016 season.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding has been the NHL's Third Star of the Month for his work in November. Harding was 8-2-and-2 during the month and recorded a 1.88 goals against average. Chicago's Patrick Kane was the league's First Star for November, while Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin was the NHL second star for the month. Kane and the Blackhawks visit Minnesota for a 7 p.m. tomorrow night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Minnesota Twins have finalized a four-year contract with right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco. He will earn a guaranteed 12-million-dollar salary each year. The deal is the largest free-agent signing in franchise history. Nolasco went 13-and-11 with a 3.70 ERA in 34 games last season, splitting time between the Marlins and Dodgers. The 30-year-old was dealt from Miami to Los Angeles on July 6th for three prospects. The Twins are also reportedly finalizing a three-year contract with free-agent pitcher Phil Hughes.
The Colorado Rockies are set to add first baseman Justin Morneau to the team. The "Denver Post" reports Morneau and the team are finalizing a two-year deal worth around 13-million dollars. Morneau batted .259 with 17 homers for the Minnesota Twins in 2013. The 32-year-old is primed to take over for longtime Colorado icon Todd Helton.
The Detroit Tigers may have found the closer they are looking for at the back end of their bullpen. Fox Sports reports the Tigers are close to a deal with free-agent right-hander Joe Nathan. The 39-year-old was 6-and-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 43 saves for Texas last season. Nathan has 341 career saves in 13 seasons with the Giants, Twins and Rangers.