MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ralph Sampson III scored a season-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his return to the starting lineup, leading Minnesotato its fourth straight win, 69-47 over Saint Peter’s on Saturday.
Sampson, who also had four assists, had played as a reserve but hadn’t started since injuring his ankle Nov. 17. He helped the Gophers (10-1) dominate inside against the smaller Peacocks.
Darius Conley led the Peacocks (2-6) with a career-high 20 points and Chris Prescott scored 12, but Saint Peter’s didn’t get much from anyone else.
The Gophers never trailed and led by as many as 22. They kept Saint Peter’s searching for jump shots for most of the game, allowing them to maintain a comfortable cushion. Minnesotaoutscored the Peacocks 38-22 in the paint and shot 27 free throws to Saint Peter’s 10.
Saint Peter’s was facing Minnesotafor the first time, and it was only its fifth game against a Big Ten opponent. The Peacocks pulled within 10 points in the second half, but couldn’t score consistently and never got closer than that.
Julian Welch had 11 points and Rodney Williams added 10 for the Gophers, who will play Central Michigan and North Dakota State before their Big Ten opener against Illinois on Dec. 27.
Conley entered averaging 10.3 points, but almost single-handedly kept Saint Peter’s in the game with 13 in the first half. His jumper with 12:59 to play in the first half cut Minnesota’slead to 14-11.
A layup by Blaise Ffrench made it 19-16, but that was as good as it would be for the Peacocks as Minnesotaoutscored Saint Peter’s 15-7 the rest of the half.
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