Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Minnesota 81, Southern Mississippi 73

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[March 26, 2014]  MINNEAPOLIS  Minnesota 81, Southern Mississippi 73: Austin Hollins scored a career-high 32 points as the Gophers pulled away in the second half for a win over the visiting Golden Eagles in the NIT quarterfinals.

Hollins finished with six 3-pointers, four assists and three steals for top-seeded Minnesota (23-13), which shot 50 percent from the field. Joey King added 15 points while Maurice Walker chipped in with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks off the bench.

Neil Watson led the way for No. 3 seed Southern Mississippi (29-7) with 16 points and six assists, while Daveon Boardingham added 15 points. Michael Craig contributed seven points, six assists and five rebounds for the Golden Eagles.

Southern Mississippi jumped out fast, forging a 13-4 lead less than four minutes into the game, but Minnesota responded with a 12-3 run to pull back within one. The Golden Eagles had the lead back up to eight with five minutes to play, but the Golden Gophers closed on a 19-7 run, including 14points by Hollins, to take a four-point halftime advantage.

The Gophers continued their run in the second half, getting the lead to as many as 13 midway through the period. Southern Mississippi fought back to within five in the final minute but could never get any closer, as Minnesota closed it out with free throws.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Southern Mississippi won the rebound battle, 37-27, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. Minnesota was nearly perfect from the free-throw line, hitting 19-of-21 attempts, while the Golden Eagles finished 12-of-20. The Golden Gophers head to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden for the sixth time, although the team's run to the 1998 title was later vacated.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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