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Associated Press North Dakota State's Taylor Braun, right, beats Minnesota's Ralph Sampson III to a loose ball during the first half Thursday in Minneapolis.

College Basketball: Gophers rally past North Dakota St.

sports Willmar,Minnesota 56201 http://www.wctrib.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/1130/hoops-gophers-ndsu.jpg?itok=meVSKkNO
West Central Tribune
College Basketball: Gophers rally past North Dakota St.
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Jon Krawczynski

AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ralph Sampson III had 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks and Rodney Williams added 14 points and eight boards to lift Minnesota to a 63-59 victory over plucky North Dakota State on Thursday night.

Maverick Ahanmisi added 13 points and three steals for the Golden Gophers (12-1), who hung on despite missing nine free throws and being outrebounded 39-28.

Taylor Braun had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Dylan Hale scored 13 for the Bison (8-3). North Dakota State turned the ball over 14 times, which kept them from completing what would have been an impressive upset.

Minnesota has struggled all season at the free-throw line, but Sampson came through when the Gophers needed it most. He made 7 of 8 shots from the line, including two with less than 14 seconds to play that iced the victory.

This was the last pre-Big Ten tuneup for the Gophers, who got a lot more than they bargained for from the little school from Fargo.

Down 14-2 early, Minnesota climbed back into it with some strong pressure defense to take a 32-29 lead at the half. The Gophers looked to be pulling away early in the second period with a 41-32 lead with 16 minutes to play, but North Dakota State didn't back down.

Braun scored on a tough leaner in the lane, then again on a drive to the basket for a 53-52 lead with under 8 minutes to go.

But Ahanmisi, who started because Andre Hollins has been limited with an ankle injury, responded with a three-point play and another jumper from the wing to put Minnesota back in front with 4:32 to play, and the Gophers never trailed after that.

Gophers 63, NDSU 59

NDSU 29 30 -- 59

Minnesota 32 31 -- 63

NORTH DAKOTA STATE -- Braun 5-8 3-4 13, Wright 1-5 0-0 2, Bjorklund 3-5 3-6 9, Alexander 5-17 1-4 11, Hale 5-10 0-0 13, Felt 3-8 0-0 9, Aaberg 1-1 0-0 2, Lindberg 0-0 0-0 0, Carlson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 7-14 59.

MINNESOTA -- Au. Hollins 1-5 0-0 3, Williams 5-7 3-8 14, Sampson III 4-8 7-8 15, Welch 2-7 0-0 5, Ahanmisi 4-4 3-5 13, An. Hollins 0-3 0-0 0, Coleman 0-2 0-0 0, Armelin 3-6 0-0 7, Ingram 0-0 0-0 0, Osenieks 0-1 0-0 0, Eliason 2-3 2-3 6. Totals 21-46 15-24 63.

3-Point Goals--N. Dakota St. 6-22 (Hale 3-7, Felt 3-8, Wright 0-1, Alexander 0-6), Minnesota 6-14 (Ahanmisi 2-2, Welch 1-1, Williams 1-1, Armelin 1-2, Au. Hollins 1-5, Coleman 0-1, An. Hollins 0-2). Fouled out--Wright. Rebounds--N. Dakota St. 39 (Braun 11), Minnesota 28 (Williams 8). Assists--N. Dakota St. 11 (Alexander 4), Minnesota 12 (Ahanmisi 3). Total fouls--N. Dakota St. 21, Minnesota 13.

Attendance--11,681.

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