Kris Humphries shines in season opener

Freshman Kris Humphries continued to show why he was considered one of the top high school seniors as he had 26 points and 15 rebounds in his regular-season debut as the Gophers opened the 2003-04 season with a 78-67 victory over Missouri-Kansas City in the first round of the Preseason NIT. The Gophers advance to the NIT quarterfinals where they will face Utah, who rallied to defeat Georgia State 46-38.

Minnesota broke open the game in the second half, leading by as many as 22 points. The Kangaroos pulled within four points just 11 seconds into the second half on a Mike English jumper, but Minnesota went on a 14-5 run to take a 48-34 lead with 12:28 remaining. A 6-0 UMKC run brought the Kangaroos back within eight at 48-40.

Maurice Hargrow capped a 20-6 Gopher run with a three-pointer with 5:38 left in the contest, giving Minnesota a 68-46 lead and securing the win.

The first half was close throughout, featuring eight ties and seven lead changes. With the score tied at 27-27, Minnesota scored the final six points of the half to take a 33-27 halftime lead.

Minnesota had 17 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Kangaroos 47-36 overall. The Gophers owned an 11-board advantage in the second half. After shooting just 35 percent in the first half, Minnesota was 18 of 30 (60 percent) in the second half.

Humphries made 12 of 23 shots from the field and grabbed five offensive boards and 10 rebounds on the defensive end. Junior guard Hargrow scored 18 points while Michael Bauer added nine points and 10 rebounds. Adam Boone dished out eight assists and had three steals in his first game as a Golden Gopher. He attempted just one shot and was held scoreless. However, his ability to run the team should give high hopes to Gopher faithful.

Minnesota held UMKC star Michael Watson to just eight points on 3 of 19 shooting. Watson averaged 25.5 points per game last season, fourth in the country. Junior college transfer English led the Kangaroos with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

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