MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team won the first of its two exhibition games, defeating Minnesota Crookston, 74-57, at Williams Arena on Sunday afternoon.
After falling behind early, trailing 16-9 with 10:30 remaining in the first half, Minnesota responded with a 15-3 run keyed by two 3-pointers from Nate Mason, one trey by Joey King and a breakaway dunk from Charles Buggs to take a 24-19 lead at the 4:12 mark.
At the half, Minnesota held a 30-26 lead behind Mason’s 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. Buggs added five points, while Jordan Murphy had four points and a team-high five first-half rebounds.
The Gophers picked up the intensity to open the second half, using a 13-6 run over the first 5:17 to stretch the lead to 43-32. Murphy capped the run with back-to-back dunks over a span of 13 seconds, and the Gophers maintained a double-digits lead the rest of the game.
Minnesota increased its lead to 20 points, 58-38, on a three-point play by Buggs with 9:54 left, and led by as many as 23 points down the stretch.
Murphy led all players with 19 points and nine rebounds, making 7 of 11 field goals. Mason finished with 12 points and a team-high four assists, while Buggs had 11 points and a game-high five blocked shots. Gaston Diedhiou added nine points and eight boards for the Gophers.
Crookston was paced by 13 points from freshman Nate Lorenz.
Minnesota plays its final exhibition when Southwest Minnesota State comes to The Barn this Friday, Nov. 6. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.