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Minnesota 81, Lehigh 62

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Richard Pitino's first game as Minnesota's coach went about as well as he could have hoped.

Establishing a 37-18 halftime lead, the Golden Gophers rolled past Lehigh 81-62 Friday night at Williams Arena, recording their third straight season-opening win over a Patriot League opponent.

The son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, the younger Pitino had his team pressing and picking up the tempo throughout, even double-teaming a ball handler in the backcourt with a 22-point lead and less than 30 seconds left in the game.

Forward Joey King scored a game-high 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting for Minnesota, while guard Andre Hollins added 18. Center Elliott Eliason was stout inside with 11 points and 17 rebounds before fouling out with six seconds left, and teammate guard Austin Hollins tallied 11 points.

Guard Mackey McKnight led the Mountain Hawks with 18 points, although half of those came after the Gophers owned a 22-point advantage in the final two minutes. Guard Austin Price added 15 for Lehigh, which made only 40 percent of its field goal attempts (22-of-55) and was 8-26 on 3-pointers.

Minnesota shot 48 percent from the field and canned 9-of-23 from the 3-point line. It kept the lead between 15 and 20 points throughout the second half.

Both teams are at home Tuesday night. The Mountain Hawks play Rider and the Gophers take on Montana.

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