SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Joey King scored 18 points to help Minnesota beat Missouri State 74-69 Friday in the consolation bracket at the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Carlos Morris added 12 points for the Gophers (3-1), who got off to a fast start to build a double-digit lead that reached 18 points early in the second half. They spent the rest of the afternoon fighting off the Bears, who three times came as close as three points in the final 11 minutes, including with 18 seconds left.
Morris and Nate Mason each hit key 3-pointers to answer Missouri State’s best runs, part of a big outside shooting day for the Gophers. Kevin Dorsey then made two free throws with 16.7 seconds left to turn away the Bears’ final push. He was 4-for-4 from the line in the final 35 seconds.
Camyn Boone scored 17 points to lead Missouri State (0-3).
King opened the game by going 5-for-5 from behind the arc in the first 7½ minutes, and hit his sixth 3 after the Bears had closed the gap to 57-53 near the 9:30 mark. Morris’ 3 to beat the shot clock with 2:34 left was just as big, giving Minnesota a 70-64 lead, part of a strong outside shooting effort for the Gophers.
Minnesota, which had lost to Temple 75-70 in Thursday’s tournament opener, made 13 of 23 3-pointers — posting almost a better percentage than it managed from the foul line (11 of 19).
The Bears had a rough opening day in San Juan, basically spending nearly an entire game watching No. 22 Butler run the court and score at will in a 93-59 loss. They looked headed to another ugly result when Minnesota scored two quick baskets out of the break to turn a 13-point lead into a 49-31 edge with 18:43 left. But this time, they managed to fight back and make a game of it.
Minnesota: The Gophers made 14 of their first 21 shots but finished at 45 percent for the game. … This is the second straight year and third time in six seasons that the Gophers have played in Puerto Rico, including their championship run at the 2010 Tipoff.
Missouri State: Austin Ruder scored 12 points and hit four 3-pointers, including one that pulled Missouri State within 54-51 midway through the second half. … The Bears fell to 2-8 against current members of the Big Ten. … This was the first meeting between the schools.
Minnesota will play the Mississippi State-Texas Tech winner in Sunday’s fifth-place game.
Missouri State will play the Mississippi State-Texas Tech loser in Sunday’s seventh-place game.
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