Trevor Mbakwe said he was embarrassed with how he and his Minnesota teammates played in a pair of recent blowout losses. The Gophers certainly don't have to be embarrassed with what happened Tuesday night.
With Mbakwe bringing energy from the opening tip and the rest of the Gophers following along, Minnesota was simply tougher than Indiana in a 77-73 upset of the top-ranked Gophers.
The Gophers lost their past two games by a combined 47 points, but they dominated the Hoosiers on the backboards. And Tubby Smith's team made better decisions down the stretch.
As a result, Minnesota secured its first upset of the nation's No. 1 team since 1989 and the Williams Arena floor was stormed by fans for the first time in at least decades.
"We wanted to come out and start fresh," said Mbakwe, a sixth-year senior who led all scorers with a season-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. "We had a great opportunity to have the No. 1 team come in and you want to play your best.
"We had a couple of No. 1 teams come in here in the past and we haven't played too well."
After a quiet first half, Andre Hollins finished with 16 points for Minnesota (19-9, 7-8 Big Ten) while Joe Coleman scored nine.
Indiana coach Tom Crean, who coached Mbakwe for a year at Marquette, wasn't surprised to see how his former player performed.
"He's a high-level, high-energy tough guy playing at a desperate level," Crean said. "That's a grown man, he's one of the best rebounders in the country. He was the toughest guy on the court tonight."
That toughness led to rebounds and, in turn, to too many second-chance points for Minnesota.