CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Rodney Williams scored 21 points to lead Minnesota to a 78-60 victory over Miami in a second-round NIT game Monday night.
The Gophers never trailed after starting the game on a 12-0 run. Williams scored 16 points in the first half and has now scored 20 or more in his last three games."I feel like I've been a little bit more consistent lately," Williams said. "The guys have been giving me the ball in the right spots. I was feeling good."Minnesota (21-14) advances to the quarterfinals at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night. The Blue Raiders defeated Tennessee earlier Monday.The Gophers expanded a 35-23 lead at halftime with a 15-2 spurt early in the second half. Andre Hollins hit consecutive 3-pointers and Andre Ingram's putback with 12:22 remaining ended the surge and gave Minnesota a 56-33 lead."We came ready to play," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "Rodney got us off to a good start. We had some guys step up who hadn't played a lot."Hollins and Joe Coleman finished with 14 points each for the Gophers.Rion Brown scored 16 points for Miami (20-13)."We started the game very lethargic," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "We never seemed to be able to generate any defensive intensity."The Gophers shot 58 percent as they converted 28-of-48 shots and out-rebounded Miami 41-26.Minnesota reserve forward Oto Osenieks favored the back of his head and collapsed on the court after colliding with Miami's Reggie Johnson 1:10 into the second half.The freshman from Latvia never lost consciousness and quickly reached his feet. Osenieks watched the rest of the game from the Minnesota bench."He's fine now, he had a dizzy spell," Smith said.Minnesota had its second double-digit lead of the first half after a 13-2 spurt. Williams had two three-point plays and Coleman's jumper with 4:46 remaining capped the run and gave the Gophers a 26-15 lead.After Reggie Johnson scored consecutive baskets and helped cut Minnesota's lead to 26-20, the Gophers outscored the Hurricanes 9-3 in the final 2:49 of the first half and led 35-23 at halftime.Minnesota shot 14 of 23 from the field in the first half.The Hurricanes rallied from a 12-0 deficit and scored 11 unanswered points during a 2:49 span early in the first half. Garrius Adams' steal and breakaway dunk with 10:54 ended the surge and got the Hurricanes to within 12-11.The Gophers kept Miami scoreless for the first 6:15."I have no clue why we came out like that," Brown said. "I can't explain it."Miami missed its first seven shots until Trey McKinney Jones' jumper with 13:45 ended the early scoring drought.