Tennessee Tech vs Minnesota

No. 25 Minnesota 87, Tennessee Tech 50

CBSSports.com wire reports

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 2017 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.
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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MinnesotaTennessee Tech
Lawrence Westbrook
Kevin Murphy
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
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
Ohio Valley
EastConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Morehead St.10-614-16200
Jax. State9-720-15151
Tenn. St.8-817-13161
Tenn. Tech8-812-20277
Eastern Ky.5-1112-19248
WestConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
UT Martin10-622-13164
SE Missouri St.9-715-18274
Murray St.8-816-17230
Austin Peay7-911-19261
Eastern Ill.6-1014-15265

Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Michigan St.10-820-1550
Ohio St.7-1117-1590
Penn St.6-1215-18101
Other games
Mhead St 59 Final
Kentucky 75
Frl Dksn 61 Final
NCGN 62 Final
FLAGULF 58 Final
Mich St 97
Nridge 64 Final
Purdue 89
W&M 66 Final
UConn 75
PRES 41 Final
SIUE 69 Final
Illinois 96
Hofstra 65 Final
Kansas 101
Aus Peay 54 Final
Tenn 83
RIDE 88 Final
Miss St 74
GTOWN 74 Final
Tulane 58
Wright St 69 Final
Wash 74