Minnesota wins opener 83-66 over Lipscomb

Newcomers Vincent Grier and Dan Coleman combined for 44 points in their first game with the Gophers as Minnesota won their season opener 83-66 over Lipscomb. The Gophers shot 55 percent from the field and had 14 steals and 12 blocks in the win. Minnesota's 12 shot blocks tied for the second most all-time in a single game, and the most since the Gophers tallied 13 blocks Dec. 12, 2003 versus Oral Roberts.

Vincent Grier shined in his Gopher debut as he made 9-of-10 shots from the field with five rebounds. Coleman hit 3-of-4 from three-point range and 7-of-15 overall for his 21 points.

Leading by just 52-49 with 13 minutes left in the game, the Gophers finally broke away from Lipscomb. Two free throws by Rico Tucker started an 8-0 run that gave Minnesota a 60-49 edge with 9:23 left. The Bisons pulled back within seven again with 8:10 remaining, but a Grier jumper and a Coleman three-pointer put the Gophers back up by 12 at 66-54. The Gophers managed to keep the lead more than 11 the rest of the way. Strong free throw shooting down the stretch helped perserve the Gopher lead. Minnesota was 19-of-22 from the line in the second half after making just 7-of-13 in the first half.

The Gophers did a good job on the defensive end, utilizing a full-court press thgat forced 23 Lipscomb turnovers and they were pesky on defense all afternoon. Tucker, Grier and Robinson had four steals apiece and Jeff Hagen blocked a career-high seven shots. His seven blocks tied for the seventh-most in a single Gopher game.

Lipscomb took an early 16-12 lead in the first half on the strength of seven points by Brian Fisk. Minnesota took a 27-24 lead with 6:18 remaining in the first half on a steal and fast break layup by Grier but the Bisons took the lead right back and went back up five at 32- 27 with 2:46 left. The Gophers closed with an 11-2 run to take a 38-34 lead at the half.

The Bison led briefly in the second half at 39-38 on a three-point play by James Poindexter, but the Gophers went on a 10-2 run to take a 48-41 lead with 16:29 on the clock.

Freshman Tucker added 11 points, making 9-of-10 free throws. Hagen scored 10 points to go with his seven blocks.

Fisk led Lipscomb with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting and had a team-high six rebounds. Cameron Robinson added 12 points for the Bisons.

Minnesota travels to the Great Alaska Shootout this week. The Gophers will face Furman on Wednesday, Nov. 24 in the first round.

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