Minnesota tops South Dakota StateDec 24, 2010 - 5:02 AM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Devoe Joseph and Colton Iverson both had 15 points as No. 17 Minnesota fought off feisty South Dakota State, 85-73, at Williams Arena.
Rodney Williams chipped in 13 points and six rebounds for the Golden Gophers (11-1), who have won five in a row since their lone loss of the season to Virginia on November 29. They will begin their Big Ten schedule on Tuesday against Wisconsin.
"This should probably prepare us as well as any game as we get ready for Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, everybody else," said Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith.
"It's going to be a lot tougher and we've got to do a better job staying out of foul trouble. That's one of the reasons we play teams of this caliber, to really test us and push us and make us play better."
Clint Sargent led all scorers with 23 points as the Jackrabbits (8-4) lost for the fourth time in their last six contests. Nate Wolters had a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists, while Jordan Dykstra posted 12 points in the loss.
"We knew we had to rebound with them and we did," said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy, whose team grabbed 40 boards to Minnesota's 39. "I thought our kids played hard. We should have been ahead at half and we just had some kids who were kind of out of it coming on the big stage."
The Jackrabbits used a 13-0 run to take a 17-8 lead with 13:34 left in the first half. Minnesota, though, retaliated with a 19-4 run led by a Joseph jumper and three-pointer to take the lead 27-21.
However, SDSU would hang tough to make it a three-point game with 1:21 left in the half. Williams handed Minnesota a 34-29 edge at the break when he scored on a putback off Maurice Walker's missed three with five seconds left.
Minnesota scored the first five points of the second half to take a 10-point lead, but the Jackrabbits rallied for the next eight points to cut their deficit to two.
The Gophers wouldn't pull way until late in the game. In fact, they lost the lead when Sargent nailed shot from behind the arc to give SDSU a 60-59 edge with 8:14 left to play.
Sargent then tied the game at 63 a little over a minute later with another trey.
Minnesota went on a 10-1 burst to take a commanding lead with 3:40 left to play. The rally was capped by Joseph's three-pointer.
The game was iced as the Gophers claimed a double-digit margin with 70 seconds left when Blake Hoffarber hit two free throws. The Gophers hung onto the large lead the rest of the way.
Minnesota shot 52.5 percent from the field, while SDSU shot 40 percent...The Gophers scored 20 points off of 16 turnovers...Minnesota got 36 points from its bench, while SDSU only got six, all from Chad White.
- SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: 73
Dec 23 9:57 PM
- SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: 29
Dec 23 8:48 PM
- SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Dec 23 8:03 PM
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