Minnesota squeaks out a last second win at Colorado State

The Gophers basketball schedule is setup in a straight-forward way: Win the first six games and create some momentum for the more challenging nonconference games and the Big Ten schedule. It took a Paul Carter layup with 18.9 seconds left to keep that plan afloat Saturday, as the Gophers squeezed by Colorado State 72-71 in Fort Collins, Colo. Trailing 71-70, sophomore guard Al Nolen drove into the lane and dumped the ball to forward Damian Johnson, who drew a defender and handed it to Carter. Johnson then blocked Colorado StateâÄôs Marcus WalkerâÄôs shot from the lane with less than a second left, and Andre McFarland just missed an open 20-footer at the buzzer, as the Gophers avoided an upset. Sophomore guard Blake Hoffarber led all scorers with 20 points off the bench, adding four rebounds and three steals. Five of HoffarberâÄôs six field goals were from the newly-extended three-point line. Johnson, playing in his first game of the season because of a fractured non-shooting hand, had six points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocks. The Gophers improved to 4-0, their best start since the 2002-03 season, with a five game homestand ahead of them âÄîagainst Eastern Washington, North Dakota State, Virginia, Cornell and South Dakota State. Virginia will be their toughest opponent of the season to that point, and the homestand will lead up to perhaps their biggest challenge of the season âÄî a neutral site game against No. 3 Louisville on Dec. 20.