Gophers Face Minnesota State in Exhibition

The Minnesota Gophers open their exhibition opener against Minnesota State Mankato Thursday. The Gophers are hoping to get off to a better start than last year when they fell 69-64 to Winona State. Minnesota State Mankato won a school-record 28 games last year and were 16-0 at home. However, they must replace their top three scorers who graduated after combining for 46.4 points per game.

Minnesota State finished 10-2 in the North Central Conference play last season and tied South Dakota for the league title. The Mavericks lost to South Dakota in the NCC title game 97-86. They defeated Fort Lewis 85-71 and Metro State 70-68 in the NCAA North Central Regional before losing to host Winona State 89-76.

The Mavericks must replace three key starters in Luke Anderson (19.1 points per game), Paris Kyle (14.6) and Tony Thomason (12.7). Anderson set Minnesota State records in scoring (2,328), games played (132), games started (129), minutes played (4,102), field goals made (806), three-point field goals made (328) and free throws made (388). He was named First Team All-North Central Conference for the fourth time in his career, becoming the first men's basketball player in league history to earn the honor four times. Anderson was also named the league's Most Valuable Player.

The Mavericks return 6-foot-4 guard Jake Morrow, who averaged 11.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He shot 41.2% from beyond the arc. His younger brother Taylor is a freshman on the team.

Atila Santos averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season. The 6-foot-10 Brazilian center played first two seasons at Northern Iowa.

Mankato native Mitch Gosson, a 6-foot-7 junior, averaged 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season.

Curt Greeley, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, led all true freshman in minutes played and averaged 2.6 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Kyle Swanson, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, added 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds, and Jesse Clark, a 6-foot sophomore, contributed 1.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

The Mavericks will rely heavily on a group of newcomers that includes seven freshman and Furman transfer Jadee Jones. Preston Whitaker was a four-year starter and letterwinner for St. Cloud Apollo who finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer. Five-nine point guard Marcus Hill was also four-year letterwinner and starter at Breck, where he finished as the school's career leader in assists (825) and steals (219) and finished second in school history in career points (1,630).

Jones played in all 30 games last season for Furman, averaging 4.3 points per game. He played in all 28 games and was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team after averaging 6.8 points.

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