SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Timmy Allen scored 19 points and collected 10 rebounds while Both Gach added 19 points to help Utah beat Minnesota 73-69 on Friday night.
Riley Battin added 13 points and eight rebounds while Rylan Jones chipped in 10 points and six assists for the Utes. Utah (3-0) led from wire-to-wire while shooting 53 percent from the floor.
Daniel Oturu scored 21 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to lead Minnesota. Marcus Carr finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, and six assists while Gabe Kalscheur added 13 points for the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota (1-3) lost its third straight game despite committing only five turnovers.
Minnesota and Utah started the game on opposite ends of the offensive spectrum.
The Golden Gophers missed six straight shots and went nearly four minutes without a field goal before Oturu ended the drought with a pair of 3-pointers and a jumper over three straight possessions.
The Utes, on the other hand, barely missed anything in the game’s early minutes. Utah opened the first half by scoring 16 unanswered points and raced out to a 19-3 lead at the 15:44 mark. Gach fueled the run by sinking a pair of free throws, drilling a 3-pointer, and scoring a layup over three consecutive possessions. Overall, Utah started 7-of-8 shooting from the field and scored on eight of its first nine possessions.
Minnesota struggled to climb out of that early hole. The Golden Gophers trailed the Utes by double digits through much of the first half until back-to-back baskets from Kalscheur and Carr cut Utah’s lead to 39-33 going into halftime.
Sloppiness on offense from Utah opened the door for Minnesota to chip away even more at the deficit. The Golden Gophers twice rallied to within a point, the second time after Tre Williams and Kalscheur made back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 9-0 run that cut Utah’s lead to 50-49.
Minnesota never found a way to take the lead. The Utes finally pulled away when Battin and Jones each hit a pair of free throws sandwiched around a dunk from Allen to give Utah a 67-59 lead with 1:36 remaining.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers were a one-man team through much of the first half. Oturu scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first 20 minutes. When Utah clamped down on Oturu in the second half, Minnesota struggled to get enough offense elsewhere.
Utah: Youth and inexperience bubbled to the surface at inopportune times for the Utes. Utah committed 16 turnovers – including five over five straight possessions in the second half – to open the door for Minnesota to make it a close game.
Minnesota hosts Central Michigan on Thursday.
Utah faces Coastal Carolina in the first round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Thursday.
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