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Virginia upsets Minnesota in ACC/Big Ten opener

Nov 30, 2010 - 4:13 AM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Mustapha Farrakhan scored a career-high 23 points, as Virginia used a big second half to upset No. 15 Minnesota, 87-79, in the opening round of the 2010 ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Williams Arena.

Joe Harris led all scorers with 24 points, while Mike Scott contributed a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Virginia (4-3), which had lost three of four coming into the contest.

Blake Hoffarber ended with a team-best 19 points and Trevor Mbakwe finished with 18 points and 11 boards for Minnesota (6-1), which was coming off an easy 84-65 win over North Dakota State on Wednesday.

Devoe Joseph returned after serving a six-game suspension for violating team rules and ended with 16 points in the loss.

"It was a very disappointing performance by us but I was very impressed with Virginia," Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. "They shot the ball extremely well. We were lacking in our defensive intensity tonight."

Virginia trailed by 10 at 47-37 early in the second, but Will Sherrill's three-pointer started a 12-1 run and after Sherrill hit a corner three, the Cavaliers were up 49-48 with 13:24 to play.

After Colton Iverson's layup put Minnesota back in front by a point, 52-51, a short time later, Harris made a jumper to start six straight points by Virginia and the visitors were ahead 57-52 at the 10-minute mark. Joseph got two back for the Gophers before the Cavaliers started to pull away.

Assane Sene started and ended a 13-3 surge with four free throws to put his squad ahead 70-57 with 4:54 remaining.

Minnesota drew to within six, 73-67, following Mbakwe's putback with 1:59 remaining, but Scott's three-point play on Virginia's next trip essentially put the game out of reach.

Minnesota got out to a quick 14-5 start after Hoffarber hit a three-pointer and Austin Hollins' breakaway layup stretched the Golden Gophers' lead to 22-9 near the midway point of the opening half.

Following an exchange of threes a short time later, Farrakhan drained a trey to get Virginia within six, 29-23, with 5:24 left, but the hosts closed on a strong note and took a 39-29 advantage into the locker room.

Game Notes

Minnesota was without starting point guard Al Nolen, who was out with a foot injury...Virginia improved to 5-2 in the all-time series with Minnesota...Sherrill finished with six points for Virginia, but left midway through the second half with an apparent leg injury and didn't return.