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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gopher men defeat Northwestern

EVANSTON, IL -- Golden Gopher junior point guard Deandre Mathieu scored 13 of his team-high 20 points in the second half to help propel Minnesota to a 54-48 win at Northwestern on Sunday night. He was the lone Gopher in double figures in the game. Senior Austin Hollins hit a key three-point basket with just more than three-minutes left in the game to push the Minnesota lead to 49-44. The Gophers held Northwestern with a point for nearly seven-minutes of the second half. The Gophers trailed 28-25 at halftime and held the Wildcats to 25-percent shooting in the second half, as Northwestern only made seven field goals after halftime. Minnesota improved to 17-9 with the win, including a 6-7 Big Ten record. The Wildcats dipped to 12-14 overall and 5-8 in the league. The Golden Gophers host Illinois on Wednesday night at Williams Arena at 8 p.m.


Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving netted 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and the East defeated the West, 163-155, in the 63rd edition of the NBA All-Star Game, which was played in New Orleans last night. The Knicks' Carmelo Anthony made an All-Star record eight 3-pointers and finished with 30 points, LeBron James registered 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Indiana's Paul George chipped in with 18 points for the East. Thunder star Kevin Durant and Clippers standout Blake Griffin netted 38 points apiece -- four shy of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star Game record -- to lead the West. Timberwolves star Kevin Love scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 32 minutes of play for the West. Love says he felt good about how he played and had a couple of shots narrowly miss. Love was 5-for-11 from the floor, while going 2-for-7 from three-point range. The Timberwolves host Indiana on Wednesday night at the Target Center.


The United States women's Olympic hockey team is set for a semifinal game today in Sochi, Russia. The Americans are scheduled to take on Sweden at 6:30 a.m. this morning. Team USA has five current or former Gophers on the roster, including Minnesotans Gigi Marvin of Warroad, Lee Stecklein of Roseville, and Anne Schleper of St. Cloud. The Swedish national team has three former Minnesota-Duluth players, including Kim Martin, Pernilla Winberg, and Jenni Asserholt. The other semifinal pits Canada against Switzerland. The winning teams will play on Thursday for the gold medal, while the losers will play for the bronze on Thursday. Meanwhile, the U-S men's team is set to continue Olympic competition on Wednesday with a game against the winner of tomorrow's qualification game between Slovakia and the Czech Republic. There are ten players on the men's team with Minnesota ties.


The United States women's Olympics curling team suffered an 11-2 setback to the hands of Korea early this morning in Sochi. The Americans are 1-and-8 in the round robin schedule. Richfield's Jessica Schultz and Eden Prairie's Allison Pottinger are members of the Team USA Pottinger is an alternate.


The United State men's Olympic curling team is in action this morning against Switzerland. The Americans are 2-and-6 in round robin play so far. The U-S men's team consists of Jared Zezel of Hibbing, John Shuster of Chisholm, Jeff Isaacson of Lakeland, and John Landsteiner of Mapleton.


Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers are set to hold their first official workout at spring training today in Fort Myers. Many of them have been in Florida working out for a week or two, but today is the first mandatory practice session. Veteran pitcher Mike Pelfrey says he and the rest of the pitching staff will work hard to get to know new catcher Kurt Suzuki and the rest of the team's backstops. The organization's positional players are required to report on Friday with a full squad workout set for Saturday. The first spring training game comes on Friday, February 28th against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.


The University of Minnesota baseball team improved to 3-and-0 on the season with an 11-5 win over Northern Illinois yesterday in Phoenix. Golden Gopher third baseman Mark Tatera of Eagan was 4-for-5 with a triple, double, and five runs driven in. Minnesota travels to Florida this coming weekend for a three-game series against Creighton in Fort Myers.


The Golden Gopher softball team finally lost a game this season. Minnesota was beaten by No. 1 Florida 15-2 at the Desert Classic in Las Vegas yesterday. The Gophers could never get anything going, while the Gators showed why they are ranked in the top spot in the nation, improving to 11-and-0. Minnesota is now 8-and-1 on the year and will play in a tournament in North Carolina this coming weekend.


Compared to the last few weeks it's going to feel like a heat wave across Minnesota. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 30's and 40's this week. The DNR's Pat Arndt says keep in mind Minnesota state parks are open year round and great way for the family to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Arndt says if you visit and click on state parks and look at where we have visitor centers, trail centers or places that you can get out of the cold and warm up. Arndt says many state parks also host a number of naturalist programs throughout the winter.