Tennessee Tech vs Minnesota

No. 25 Minnesota 87, Tennessee Tech 50

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota coach Tubby Smith turned to his longtime friend and Tennessee Tech coach Mike Sutton, smiled and shrugged.

It was all Smith could do after watching Lawrence Westbrook sink a double-pump 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, capping a 15-7 run to put the 25th-ranked Gophers ahead by 15 points. They coasted from there to a stress-free 87-50 victory over the Eagles on Friday night.

Westbrook, Minnesota's leading scorer a season ago, finished with 22 points to lead all scorers. Freshman Rodney Williams added 14 points.

"When you can gain that kind of momentum going into the locker room, your guys feel better about themselves," Smith said. "They get a little more confidence that they believe their shots can go in."

Westbrook also keyed a 16-5 run to start the second half and help the Gophers (1-0) pull away. After the run, Minnesota led by at least 22 points the rest of the way.

Damian Johnson added nine points, six steals, five blocks and three assists. Ralph Sampson III had nine points, a team-high nine rebounds and a pair of blocks, and Colton Iverson blocked four shots and grabbed seven boards to help control the interior.

The Gophers outscored the Eagles 44-10 in the paint, and blocked 15 shots.

Elijah Muhammad scored led Tennessee Tech with 12 points, while Kevin Murphy had 10. The Eagles (0-1) turned the ball over 27 times and shot just 28.3 percent.

"We're just a little overmatched this early in the year with a young team," Sutton said. "We competed, but it's hard to score at the rim against them."

Minnesota led by only seven with less than two minutes to play in the first half, despite forcing 17 turnovers the first 20 minutes. Westbrook's buzzer-beater stole the momentum for the Gophers, who shot a scorching 67.9 percent in the second half thanks to good ball movement.

The Gophers finished with 25 assists on 34 made field goals.

"With any talented team you're not going to win unless you play together," Westbrook said. "When we share the ball, we're going to get a lot of easy shots and layups and eventually our athleticism is going to wear on teams."

While Westbrook was leading the way, the highly touted Williams was pleasing the crowd with a trio of thunderous dunks. He also notched two rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

"Rodney is one of the most exciting players in the country," Westbrook said. "He jumps higher than anyone I've ever seen. When you have somebody like that to score on the break or block shots, if he keeps working on his game, sky's the limit."

Williams and guard Justin Cobbs made their season debuts for Minnesota.

Out of uniform were freshman Royce White, senior Devron Bostick and junior transfer Trevor Mbakwe.

White is suspended indefinitely after being charged with shoplifting and assault stemming from an incident at the Mall of America in October. He was not on Minnesota's bench Friday, but Smith said he would not give an update on White's status until "everything is finalized."

Bostick is also suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. Mbakwe will not be allowed to play until his pending court case on a felony aggravated battery charge stemming from an alleged attack on a woman in Miami in April is cleared up.

"We're definitely a better team with them," Westbrook said. "But we're confident even without the guys who are not with us right now that we're a good team. We don't have anything to prove to anybody."

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Tennessee Tech (0-1)222850
Minnesota #25 (1-0) «375087
TNTECH:Kevin Murphy 10 Pts
TNTECH:Zach Bailey 6 Reb
TNTECH:Zach Bailey 3 Ast
MN:Lawrence Westbrook 22 Pts
MN:Ralph Sampson III 9 Reb
MN:Al Nolen 7 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
MinnesotaTennessee Tech
MN
Lawrence Westbrook
TNTECH
Kevin Murphy
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
22121041
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
K. Murphy, F283-123-441110
F. Davis, G262-63-33239
E. Muhammad, G263-111-22219
A. Jones, F232-30-04034
B. Inameti, F171-61-12033
T. Barnes, F260-40-02130
Z. Bailey, G221-45-66317
J. Dillard, F152-50-01114
B. Pickens, F131-22-22234
C. Newton, G30-00-00020
R. Hunley, G10-00-00000
W. Barnes, GDid Not Play
C. Dunn, GDid Not Play
Totals 15-5315-1826122150
 28.3%83.3% 
Minnesota Golden Gophers
D. Johnson, F293-73-62329
R. Sampson III, F-C274-51-29329
A. Nolen, G262-42-44737
L. Westbrook, G229-130-012122
P. Carter, F144-60-05039
R. Williams, F215-83-422314
C. Iverson, F-C192-41-37125
D. Joseph, G193-100-02407
B. Hoffarber, G162-50-03235
J. Cobbs, G70-10-10100
D. Bostick, GDid Not Play
D. Dawson, FDid Not Play
T. Mbakwe, FDid Not Play
R. White, FDid Not Play
Totals 34-6310-2035251987
 54.0%50.0% 
Ohio Valley
EastConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Belmont11-522-11105
Eastern Ky.11-521-12156
Morehead St.10-617-17201
Jax. State5-1112-19304
Tenn. Tech4-1212-18290
Tenn. St.2-145-26341
WestConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Murray St.16-029-663
UT Martin10-621-13177
Eastern Ill.9-718-15173
SIUE8-812-16292
SE Miss. St.7-913-17289
Austin Peay3-138-22318

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wisconsin16-236-44
Maryland14-428-713
Michigan St.12-627-1223
Iowa12-622-1243
Purdue12-621-1355
Ohio St.11-724-1141
Indiana9-920-1461
Illinois9-919-1473
Michigan8-1016-1680
Minnesota6-1218-1598
Northwestern6-1215-17124
Nebraska5-1313-18158
Penn St.4-1418-16108
Rutgers2-1610-22179
 
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