Gutty win at Florida State ends Minnesota hoops road swing

Going in, the appeal wasn’t there.
Minnesota’s showdown against Florida State last night wasn’t exactly top-ranked Duke taking on No. 9 Illinois.
The Gophers-Seminoles matchup didn’t have the same hype as third-ranked Michigan State’s game against No. 6 North Carolina either.
But then again, the lack of appeal didn’t mean Minnesota couldn’t pull off a win in its ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest.
The Gophers men’s basketball team defeated the Seminoles 76-71 in Tallahassee on Wednesday night to up their nonconference record to 5-1.
After trading baskets seemingly the entire first half, the Gophers took a 35-33 lead into the break. Neither team had more than a six-point lead in the first session.
The benches were keys for each team early. The Seminoles leading scorer half way through was Andrew Wilson, who chipped in 10 first half points off the pine.
The Gophers side was led by bench-man Kevin Burleson, who also had 10 points in the first set. As a team, 21 of the team’s 35 points came from the bench.
In the second, Minnesota quickly jumped out to a 43-35 lead by scoring eight of the half’s first 10 points.
But that’s when the Seminoles put together a 16-5 run to grab a lead of their own at the midpoint of the second half.
The two teams relived the first half down the stretch, trading baskets like they were presidential election votes.
Then, with just over a minute left in regulation, the Gophers put the game away.
A three-pointer from freshman Michael Bauer broke a 65-65 tie — the 15th and last of the game — to send the Seminoles fans home.
Minnesota outscored Florida State 11-6 in the final minutes, including eight points from the free throw line in leaving Leon County Civic Center and a long road trip with the win.
Gophers guard Terrance Simmons dropped in 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to lead Minnesota. The senior was 6 of 12 from the field. Travarus Bennett chipped in another 12 points for Minnesota.
As a team, the Gophers were 10 of 16 from downtown, while the Seminoles were just 3 of 11 from three-point land.
A big key defensively for Minnesota was its ability to shut down Florida State’s big man Nigel Dixon.
The 6-foot-10, 350-pound center, was 0 for 8 from the field, and didn’t see any action after halftime.
After four straight road games took them from Hawaii to Florida, the Gophers have a weekend free of action.
Minnesota next returns to the court Monday night, when Morris Brown makes its way to Williams Arena.

John R. Carter covers football and men’s baskteball and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached by calling (612) 627-4070 x3244.