No. 15 Minnesota Beats Slumping Michigan 69-64
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III scored 13 points apiece to lead No. 15 Minnesota over slumping Michigan 69-64 on Saturday night.
The Golden Gophers (15-4, 4-3 Big Ten) trailed 41-40 before going on a 12-3 run in the second half. Chip Armelin scored twice in a row on similar drives from the right wing, and Rodney Williams added a 3-pointer to make it 52-44.
After that, Michigan (11-9, 1-6) could pull no closer than six points until a 3-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. made it 65-60 with 29.1 seconds left. Hardaway finished with 20 points for the Wolverines, who have lost six straight.
Blake Hoffarber scored 12 points and Williams added 10 for Minnesota, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the series.
The Gophers outrebounded Michigan 38-13. They also shot 63 percent, but they struggled from the free throw line, going 13 of 23, and turned the ball over 17 times. The Wolverines were able keep it close by going 12 of 35 from 3-point range.
Minnesota guard Al Nolen was limited to 11 minutes because of an injured right ankle.
After scoring the last seven points of the first half, Minnesota scored the first seven of the second to take a 38-29 advantage. The Wolverines fought back, finally going ahead 41-40 on a 3-pointer by Darius Morris.
The lead was short-lived. Michigan relied heavily on 3-pointers against Minnesota’s zone and couldn’t quite make enough of them.
Hoffarber was steady in Nolen’s absence. He finished with six assists and no turnovers in 36 minutes.
Minnesota got off to a sloppy start, turning the ball over five times before the first official timeout and starting 1 of 6 from the field. Hardaway gave Michigan a 9-3 lead when he drove the baseline for a nifty reverse layup, and Zack Novak made it 12-5 with a 3-pointer.
Mbakwe then scored six straight points for Minnesota.
With the score tied at 15, the Wolverines had only one starter on the floor, but Hardaway and Stu Douglass made 3-pointers and Novak came back in and added another shot from long distance to give Michigan a 24-15 lead.
The Gophers answered with nine straight points of their own, slowing the Wolverines with their zone. Minnesota led 31-29 at halftime.
Michigan attempted 19 of its 25 shots from 3-point range in the first half.
Mbakwe again came off the bench. He hasn’t started since being arrested on Jan. 11 after he sent an ex-girlfriend a message on Facebook. The woman had previously gotten a restraining order against Mbakwe, and she turned him in to police after seeing the message.
Mbakwe admitted to sending the message, but pleaded not guilty to the charge of violating the restraining order.
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