Dawson Garcia scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Minnesota pulled away for a 67-53 win over visiting South Carolina Upstate on Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Joshua Ola-Joseph, Elijah Hawkins and Mike Mitchell Jr. scored nine points apiece for Minnesota (3-1). Pharrel Payne added seven points and four blocked shots off the bench.
Justin Bailey scored 14 points to lead South Carolina Upstate (2-3). Trae Brodnax finished with 13 points and Ahmir Langlais contributed 12.
Minnesota bounced back from a demoralizing defeat two nights earlier when it squandered a 20-point, second-half lead against visiting Missouri.
South Carolina Upstate maintained pressure on Minnesota early in the second half. A layup by Miguel Ayesa cut the Spartans’ deficit to 41-39 with 13:39 to go.
On the next possession, Mitchell hit a 3-pointer to increase Minnesota’s lead to 44-39. Mitchell’s basket started a 16-7 run that put the Golden Gophers on top 57-46, which marked their biggest lead of the game to that point.
The Spartans chipped back within five points of the lead at 57-52 with 4:38 to go. Ayesa made a 3-pointer off an assist from Bailey.
The Golden Gophers closed the game on a 10-1 run to seal the victory. Garcia tallied six straight points with a layup, a free throw and a 3-pointer to finish the scoring.
Minnesota held on to a 31-29 lead at the half.
South Carolina Upstate showed no signs of nervousness in the early going. The Spartans went on an 8-0 run to build a 13-8 lead with 13:37 remaining in the first half.
Bailey made a pair of 3-pointers during the run. Langlais added a layup.
Minnesota still trailed by five points when it went on a 12-2 run to take a 23-18 lead. Cam Christie drained a 3-pointer off an assist from Isaiah Ihnen to finish the run.
Langlais made a jump shot with three seconds left in the half to pull the Spartans within two.
–Field Level Media
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