Minnesota uses strong second half to beat Eastern KentuckyDec 11, 2010 - 9:22 PM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Ralph Sampson III scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help 22nd-ranked Minnesota beat Eastern Kentucky, 71-58, at Williams Arena.
Blake Hoffarber and Trevor Mbakwe both contributed 14 points for the Golden Gophers (9-1), who have won three straight since suffering their lone loss to Virginia on November 29th as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Justin Stommes had 19 points to pace the Colonels (5-5), who trailed by only three at halftime before a lengthy second-half scoring drought erased any chance of an upset.
"I thought we did a good job defensively in the first half, for us to hold them to 28 points here in their building," said Eastern Kentucky head coach Jeff Neubauer. "That is as well as we can do. I asked our team to be scrappy and we were very scrappy in the first half."
Minnesota scored 10 of the game's first 15 points, but trailed 22-13 after Stommes buried a shot from beyond the arc with just under seven minutes remaining.
Eastern Kentucky would register only another Stommes three-pointer over the next 17 minutes as the Golden Gophers pulled away.
Maverick Ahanmisi's bid from half court at the buzzer gave Minnesota a 28-25 halftime lead and the Golden Gophers built a 43-25 advantage before a Stommes dunk ended EKU's dry spell midway through the frame.
Minnesota led comfortably the rest of the way.
"The beginning of the second half was probably one of the best stretches of defensive play we've had," said Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith.
No other player scored more than nine points for the Colonels...Minnesota shot 52.0 percent from the field while limiting Eastern Kentucky to 35.8 percent...Saturday's game marked Eastern Kentucky's first against a nationally-ranked team since facing Duke on November 25, 2007.
- Under-pressure Pitino: 'We've got to get this right' May 12
- Audit finds overspending on travel by Gophers' coach May 11
- Prosecutor delays charging decision against Minnesota player May 10
- Minnesota: Basketball player arrested on sex assault charge May 8
- Guard Akeem Springs joins Minnesota as graduate transfer Apr 19
- Minnesota guard to transfer after sex video suspension Apr 4
- 3 Minnesota players suspended for video are reinstated Mar 29
- Despite dismal season, Pitino exudes optimism for future Mar 10
- Pitino to assess status of 3 suspended players after season Mar 8
- Suspended Minnesota player reported theft of phone to police Mar 3
- Minnesota's Pitino suspends 3 players for rest of season Mar 1
- AP source: Minnesota players punished for explicit video Feb 29