UM-SC: Game Recap

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota withstood an early barrage of 3-pointers from a hot-handed Siena team Monday night and fought back from an 11-point deficit to down the Saints 76-69 and secure their second win of the season at Williams Arena.

Minnesota (1-0) found itself in a dogfight against the reigning MAAC champions in the first half, falling behind 27-16 midway through the first half. Both teams came out running. The fast paced game was a shootout early with both teams raining down three pointers. The teams combined for 33 points over the first five minutes of the contest.

The Gophers fought back late in the first half to go ahead 33-32 lead by four points from freshman Chip Armelin and six by Trevor Mbakwe over a span of three minutes. Senior Clarence Jackson's 18 points paced the Saints at half time. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard nailed a jump shot right before intermission, putting Siena back on top.

The pace of the second half was much more deliberate. The Gophers came out sloppy, missing shots and turning the ball over, allowing Siena to increase their lead to six points within three minutes.

Gopher forward Colton Iverson and freshman guard Austin Hollins rallied Minnesota for an 11-0 run. Two layups by Iverson, two 3-pointers and a free throw by Hollins, put the Gophers up five before the Saints Clarence Jackson ended the bleeding with a 3-pointer.

Jackson kept the Saints in the game until with his hot-hand from beyond the arc. He finished 5-of-8 from 3-point range finishing with a game-high 29 points. Minnesota found itself up with a comfortable 10-point lead with 2:26 remaining on the clock, but the Saints and true freshman Rakeem Bookins, had some fight left.

Brookins single-handedly gave Siena a chance to win, scoring the next 10 points for the Saints, reducing the once 10-point lead, to only four, with a minute left in the game. Minnesota held on late with four points by guard Al Nolen and two clutch free-throws by Blake Hoffarber to put the Gophers up for good 76-69, giving them their second win of the season.

Blake Hoffarber lead Minnesota with 16 points and also distributed seven assists, while Trevor Mbakwe posted another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Austin Hollins scored 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Clarence Jackson filled up the stat sheet for the Saints finishing with 29 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Ryan Rossiter, the MAAC preseason Player of the Year selection, was held to only eight points and turned the ball over five times.

Siena shot 51 percent (26-of-51, 9-of-17 on 3-pointers) while holding Minnesota to 43.9 percent from the floor. The difference in the game was turnovers. The Gophers forced 24 turnovers despite committing 15 of their own.

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