Gophers down La Salle in NIT | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Gophers down La Salle in NIT

Posted: March 14, 2012 - 11:01pm

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Rodney Williams tied his career high with 21 points, Austin Hollins had 16 and Minnesota beat La Salle 70-61 Wednesday night in the opening round of the NIT.

Andre Hollins added 13 points for the Golden Gophers (20-14), who play Miami in the second round after the Hurricanes beat Valparaiso 66-50.

“I am impressed,” Smith said of his young team. “All year long, we’ve been in every game. Overall, we’ve been right there. Now, we’re starting to make some of these steps.”

The Gophers closed with a 15-6 run to give coach Tubby Smith his 100th win at the school. Only seven coaches in the program’s history have won at least 100 games.

“I really didn’t realize it,” Smith said of the milestone. “You’re so involved in the game.”

Earl Pettis scored 19 points for La Salle (21-13), while Ramon Galloway added 13 and Jerrell Wright 12.

It was the first postseason game for the Explorers since they qualified for the NCAA tournament in 1992.

This was the 14th appearance for Minnesota in the NIT, including championships in 1993 and ‘98 — but the ‘98 title has since been vacated.

MINNESOTA (20-14)

Williams 9-17 3-3 21, Eliason 0-0 1-2 1, An. Hollins 5-8 2-3 13, Coleman 2-3 3-4 7, Au. Hollins 7-11 2-3 16, Welch 4-8 0-0 8, Osenieks 1-4 2-3 4, Ahanmisi 0-2 0-0 0, Armelin 0-0 0-0 0, Ingram 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-54 13-18 70.

LA SALLE (21-13)

Wright 5-10 2-6 12, Duren 3-7 0-0 6, Mills 3-5 0-0 8, Pettis 8-17 2-2 19, Galloway 4-9 4-4 13, Peterson 1-1 0-0 3, White 0-2 0-1 0, Zack 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 8-13 61.

Halftime—Minnesota 40-37. 3-Point Goals—Minnesota 1-11 (An. Hollins 1-3, Williams 0-2, Osenieks 0-2, Welch 0-2, Au. Hollins 0-2), La Salle 5-10 (Mills 2-3, Galloway 1-1, Peterson 1-1, Pettis 1-3, Duren 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Minnesota 32 (Coleman, Osenieks, Williams 6), La Salle 23 (Wright 7). Assists—Minnesota 15 (Coleman, Eliason, Au. Hollins 3), La Salle 16 (Duren, Mills 4). Total Fouls—Minnesota 14, La Salle 14. A—3,023.