No. 17 Gophers top JackrabbitsMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Colton Iverson scored 15 points, 11 in the second half, and had five rebounds and No. 17 Minnesota held on to beat South Dakota State 85-73 on Thursday night.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Colton Iverson scored 15 points, 11 in the second half, and had five rebounds and No. 17 Minnesota held on to beat South Dakota State 85-73 on Thursday night.
Devoe Joseph added 15 points as Minnesota overcame a shaky start to notch its fifth straight win. Rodney Williams had 13 points and six rebounds for the Gophers (11-1), who open Big Ten play next week at Wisconsin.
Clint Sargent led South Dakota State (8-4) with 23 points and Nate Wolters added 16.
Sargent hit a 3-pointer to give South Dakota State a 60-59 lead, and later tied the game at 63-all with another 3-pointer.
But Minnesota countered with a 12-3 run led by Al Nolen and Iverson.
South Dakota State has featured one of the nation’s most efficient offenses this season. The Jackrabbits entered the game second in the country with 9.3 turnovers per game leading to a plus-7.9 turnover margin, and had shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range.
However, it was a pesky defense that helped South Dakota State challenge the Gophers.
The Jackrabbits forced Minnesota into 11 first-half turnovers, but scored just two points off them.
The Gophers steadied themselves in the second half with help from Nolen, a senior point guard who returned after missing five games with a stress reaction in his right foot.
He struggled in the first half, but his calming influence was needed down the stretch.
After a scoreless first half with two turnovers, Nolen finished with eight points.
As the Gophers get healthier with Nolen’s return, freshman forward Mo Walker left the game in the second half.
Walker fell to the ground and clutched his right knee before being helped off the court.
South Dakota State led 17-8 early, but a 19-4 run keyed by Joseph helped Minnesota recover.