Minnesota beats Louisiana-Monroe 67-56
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A young Minnesota squad learned some good and bad about itself in the second half Sunday.
It resulted in a win.
Kevin Dorsey and Joey King keyed a second-half surge and the Gophers lost a double-digit lead but rallied to beat Louisiana-Monroe 67-56.
King finished with 20 points, Nate Mason had 12 and Dorsey 11 for the Golden Gophers (2-0).
The Warhawks (1-1) got 16 points from Majok Deng. Travis Munnings added 12 and Jamaal Samuel had 11.
”Different people stepping up in different situations. Everyone played a big part of this win,” Mason said.
Minnesota, which pulled away in the second half to beat Missouri-Kansas City 76-58 Friday, couldn’t repeat that performance as they allowed ULM to take the lead before playing well at both ends in the final minutes.
Starting the second half up by 13, the Gophers trailed by a point with about seven minutes to play. Mason then hit a long jumper, Dorsey drained a 3-pointer and King scored on a tip during an 11-0 Minnesota run that put the Gophers up 61-51.
”We knew we just had to stay composed,” Mason said. ”I feel like we tend to panic sometimes, and I didn’t want the team to panic this time.”
ULM scored just 5 points in the final 6:45.
”To go hold them scoreless nine of the last 11 possessions . to outscore them 17-5 is really good,” said Gophers coach Richard Pitino. ”We got stops. It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to do it.”
Warhawks coach Keith Richard could only be left wondering how to get consistency from his squad.
”Scoring’s a problem for us at times. It showed itself at the wrong moment when we took the lead. We really needed a score, just one or two times, to keep up down the stretch, and we didn’t,” he said.
The young Gophers – Minnesota has just two seniors – were sluggish throughout much of the first 13 minutes of the second half as they missed shot after shot and didn’t always get back quickly on defense leading to easy baskets. Munnings had 10 points in an 18-6 run to as the Warhawks took a 51-50 lead.
”I was trying to be aggressive, get to the free throw line,” Munnings said. ”We can’t really go on those droughts, because, if we go on those droughts we’re not going to win like that.”
Minnesota, which made a dozen 3-pointers Friday, was just 3-for-22 from long range.
”There was a lot of frustration from the outside, but when you shoot 20-for-22 from the line that makes up for everything,” King said. ”We’re showing what type of shooting team we are. If they didn’t drop from 3, but we’re making our free throws, that’s really important for us.”
ULM, who scored the first 17 points in Friday’s 88-43 win over McMurry, found things much tougher early against a Big Ten opponent. The Warhawks had more fouls (five) than points (3) in the opening five minutes and quickly trailed 12-3.
A drive by Munnings got ULM within 19-15, but Minnesota answered with a 15-4 spurt – including 6 points each by Charles Buggs and King – for a 15-point lead with three minutes to play in the first half. Minnesota led 38-25 at intermission.
ULM: The Warhawks shot 34 percent after shooting 62.3 percent in their opener. . ULM, St. Peter’s and Baylor are the only teams in the nation to not allow 75 points in a game since 2013-14.
Minnesota: The Gophers had four blocks. They had seven Friday. . The Gophers have won 45 consecutive non-conference home games since Nov. 29, 2011, the second-longest streak in the nation behind Duke.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
”They’re going to be a good team in that league; they’re going to be the top of the league,” – Pitino on Louisiana-Monroe’s prospects in the Sun Belt Conference.
ULM: At Northwestern State on Thursday.
Minnesota: Faces Temple on Friday in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.