Gophers rally again to defeat Indiana State

Julian Welch led a 16-point second-half turnaround in the 76-69 win.

by Charlie Armitz

Another game, another second-half comeback for the Gophers.

Whether falling behind early and rallying late will work against elite Big Ten opponents is yet to be determined. But Minnesota has proven to be an expert at the craft against nonconference foes.

The Gophers defeated Indiana State 76-69 on Friday in the second round of the Old Spice Classic after trailing 40-33 at halftime. On Thursday, they trailed 43-33 to DePaul at the break and rallied for an 86-85 win.

Julian Welch scored a career-high 17 points off the bench on 5-for-9 shooting and came up with a number of key steals in the second half.

With Minnesota trailing 58-49 with eight and a half minutes left, Welch, Chip Armelin and Trevor Mbakwe combined to score 22 consecutive points for the Gophers, which gave them a 71-66 lead.

Armelin finished with 13 points off the bench on 5-for-11 shooting.

Mbakwe had nine points on 4-for-9 shooting — his first game with less than 10 points this season — and nine rebounds.

All three players made a difference on defense as well, holding Indiana State to 29 points in the second half. The Sycamores still shot 10-for-21 from 3-point range, which has been an area of concern for the Gophers all season long.

Andre Hollins had a career-high 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting for Minnesota, a game after he scored two points on 1-for-5 shooting.

The Gophers (6-0) will play the winner of Friday’s Dayton/Fairfield game in Sunday’s championship game. Minnesota defeated Fairfield 67-57 at Williams Arena on Nov. 17.