And then came the wild ending when Hollins needed just one point, not 41. He said it was just like he was back at home shooting free throws with his father.
"It was just the ball, the rim and me," said Hollins, whose grandmother passed away last weekend. Hollins' 41-point effort came against No. 19 Memphis. He only had eight points against Stanford but the last three were the winners.
The game was tied at 63 when Minnesota went to throw the ball in from under its own basket. After an inbounds pass, the ball was tipped away by Stanford's Dwight Powell, who saved it as he was falling out of bounds near midcourt. Hollins calmly corralled the loose ball in front of the Stanford bench and dribbled to midcourt where he launched a shot and was hit on the right arm by Stanford's Chasson Randle.
As Randle crouched in front of his bench holding his head as teammates patted him, the officials went to the monitor to see if the foul happened after time expired. They put 0.4 seconds back on the clock and Hollins made all three free throws.
"I couldn't believe he was even near me," Hollins said. "You're taught to jump away not into but I'm glad the officials saw it."
A long pass by Stanford was knocked away by Minnesota and the buzzer sounded.
"I asked Dre to shoot it on that last play. You never know if it might go in," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "He might get fouled. And obviously he got fouled."
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins looked stunned even 20 minutes after the game.
"It's difficult for any young man to be involved in a play like that," he said. "I think at some point in time, at some level, for all these athletes who play so much basketball, they're all involved in a play like that. It's one of the most difficult plays to live with. He has to understand it's never decided on the last play. That's just fiction. That play didn't decide the game for us. There were other times when we fouled jump shooters and you need to accumulate the free throws they made on those. It didn't decide the ballgame. It is a culmination of plays that adds up to that."
Randle, who has been struggling with his shooting this season, finished 3 of 19 from the field, including 2 of 9 from 3-point range.
"It's a tough loss to swallow. You have to bounce back," Dawkins said. "I think we learned about our group today and what we think we're capable of doing. That's what we are going to focus on."
Hollins, who came within one point of the school record Friday, struggled Saturday, going 1 for 8 from the field. But he was 6 of 7 from the free throw line.
"It was definitely a crazy ending. We were just lucky he got fouled," said Rodney Williams, who had 12 points for the Gophers. "Once he got to the free throw line, we knew he'd make those free throws. So we were glad it was him when he went to the line.
"You don't want to foul in that situation. It's just not a high percentage shot. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose. But it happened, and I'm glad it did."
Trevor Mbakwe had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Golden Gophers (6-1), who lost to No. 5 Duke in The Opening round. Minnesota was 26 of 35 from the line.
Powell had 22 points for Stanford (4-3), which lost to No. 13 Missouri in the first round, including a stretch late in the second half when he scored 10 straight. Powell tied it at 63 with two free throws with 14.8 seconds left after he was fouled as he drove to the basket.
Powell scored 18 of the Cardinal's final 23 points in the game.