Bench strength leads Minnesota past North Dakota State
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Dan Coleman scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Al Nolen scored a season-high 15 points off the bench, and Minnesota beat North Dakota State 88-56 Monday night.
Lawrence Westbrook and Lawrence McKenzie each had 11 points for Minnesota (5-1). Blake Hoffarber had 10 points off the bench.
North Dakota State was led by Ben Woodside’s 17 points. Brett Winkelman scored 16.
Minnesota’s depth again showed against a weaker opponent, as its nonstarters outscored the Bison reserves 41-7. The Gophers’ bench has outscored every opponent, holding a cumulative 200-80 scoring edge. Minnesota held a 27-4 bench advantage in last Saturday’s 75-38 win over UC Riverside.
North Dakota State (4-4) turned the ball over 19 times, and shot just 33.3 percent. The Bison had hit nearly half their shots entering the game. Minnesota shot 52.9 percent.
Coleman scored nine points during a 18-2 Minnesota run in the first half that resulted in a 35-20 lead. He scored on dunks after feeds from Spencer Tollackson and Damian Johnson, and more impressively, he stayed with a rebound for four or five touches before the ball finally fell through the basket.
A pair of 3-pointers by Nolen and one by Kevin Payton gave Minnesota a 44-27 lead at intermission.
Back-to-back layups by Hoffarber gave Minnesota a 64-36 lead midway through the second half.
The game was another tough non-conference road tilt for the Bison, who lost by 10 at two-time defending NCAA champion Florida a month ago, and also lost at Rutgers and Wisconsin-Green Bay. North Dakota State, picked to finish fourth in the Summit League, begins conference play Thursday at Oral Roberts.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 24-1. The lone Bison win was in 1936.