Minnesota and Michigan State were evenly matched for 36 minutes on Monday afternoon. Neither team was able to hold a lead for more than a couple of possessions, and it appeared the game could come down to the buzzer.
Then, in front of a packed house at the Williams Arena in Minneapolis, the Golden Gophers went on a furious 12-0 run in the closing minutes to secure a big 76-63 win to kickoff conference play.
Minnesota shot the ball well on Monday, hitting nearly 57 percent of their attempts from the field. Four players reached double-digits in scoring, including sophomore guard Andre Hollins, who led all scorers with 22 points. Rodney Williams stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, six rebounds, three steals and an assists, while Trevor Mbakwe chipped in 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Michigan State really struggled with turnovers late in the second half, and coach Tom Izzo will point to his team being out-rebounded by 14 as a key to his team losing. Keith Appling led the way with 15 points, although he needed 16 shot attempts to get there. MSU went 2-for-10 from the free throw line and shot 44 percent from the field.
Up next for No. 11 Minnesota is a contest with Northwestern on Sunday, Jan. 6. The Spartans will face next Purdue on Saturday afternoon.