Scores

Final

(22) Minnesota 82

(4-0, 0-0 away)

(12) Butler 73

(3-1, 1-0 home)

8:30 PM ET, November 26, 2009

Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California

1 2 T
#22MINN 32 5082
#12BUT 28 4573

Top Performers

Minnesota: D. Johnson 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Butler: S. Mack 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast

Gophers golden off bench in victory over Butler 

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Whenever he subbed in a reserve, Minnesota coach Tubby Smith got the same production as he did with his starters -- and sometimes even better.

That spark off the bench amounted to a long night for Butler (No.10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP).

With three backups in double figures, Minnesota (No.16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) earned its first win away from home this season, beating Butler 82-73 on Thursday in the first round of the 76 Classic.

"When you beat a team ranked ahead of you, that's a good thing," Smith said. "We were the underdog coming in. This will go far, but it's still early in the season. It will give us some confidence, which will go a long way towards the postseason."

The Golden Gophers' bench outscored Butler's 46-8 to help them advance to the semifinals of a tournament that concludes Sunday.

"Obviously, I don't feel like we played as well as we would have liked to, but give credit to Minnesota. They are an outstanding team," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "They are an incredibly deep team. Obviously, 46 points off the bench speaks for itself. I told our guys that I'll coach them a lot better. We have a quick turnaround, so we have to make the most of the next couple of days and it's going to be difficult."

Damian Johnson led Minnesota with 18 points and was instrumental in shutting down Butler's Gordon Hayward, who made just three of eight field-goal attempts. Hayward had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Colton Iverson finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers (4-0), who held off the Bulldogs by making five 3-pointers in the final 8 minutes. Minnesota also converted 12 of 18 free throws in the last 3 minutes.

"They're really deep and so there isn't a lot of guys you can look at and say, back up and not get up in them," Butler forward Matt Howard said. "They've got a lot of good shooters."

Howard shot 15-of-18 on free throws and paced Butler (3-1) with 23 points before fouling out with 2:29 left. Shelvin Mack added 20 points and six rebounds.

Butler beat six of the previous seven Big Ten teams it played, but struggled to score against Minnesota's stifling defense. The Bulldogs committed a season-high 21 turnovers and shot 33 percent from the field. The miscues were their most under third-year coach Stevens.

"We're a very good ball-pressure team. Our on-the-ball defense was pretty good," Smith said. "We're pretty quick and we're pretty long and we're very aggressive, always trying to get deflections."

With the score tied 38-all, Minnesota, which beat its first three opponents by an average of 34 points, took the lead for good with a 9-1 run that was capped by Lawrence Westbrook's 3-pointer.

Westbrook, the team's leading scorer, didn't get on the board until making two free throws to give the Gophers a 40-38 advantage with 14:01 left in the second half. He finished with nine points.

Devoe Joseph scored 11 of his 14 points, including two 3-pointers, in the final 4 minutes for Minnesota.

Butler pulled within four several times in the closing minutes, but never got closer.

With the Gophers down 27-23, Iverson scored on a nice up-and-under move after he grabbed an offensive rebound. He chased another rebound and fed Blake Hoffarber for a 3-pointer and made two free throws during a 9-1 run to close the first half.

"Everybody stepped up tonight. I think that's big for us," Johnson said. "A lot of guys have confidence in each other. We don't have to rely on one person to take over."

Minnesota outrebounded Butler by six en route to a 32-28 halftime lead.

Butler took its largest lead of the first half after Hayward made a 3-pointer followed by a free throw, making it 13-7.

Butler hit 13 of 17 free throws while Minnesota attempted just nine in the first half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
MINN
BUT
Points 82 73
FG Made-Attempted 25-50 (.500) 16-48 (.333)
3P Made-Attempted 9-19 (.474) 5-23 (.217)
FT Made-Attempted 23-36 (.639) 36-45 (.800)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (0/0) 26 (0/0)
Largest Lead 10 6

2009-10 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Nov 26, 2009 MINN 82, @BUT 73Recap