Gophers set for final exhibition game

Minnesota host MSU-Moorhead at 7 p.m. in Williams Arena.

John Hageman

The Minnesota menâÄôs basketball team will warm up for the regular season with one more exhibition game Monday against Minnesota State University Moorhead at Williams Arena. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. The Gophers have already looked sharp in their tune-up game Thursday, beating up on Minnesota-Duluth 114-47. Minnesota dominated on defense, forcing 28 turnovers and allowed only 13 points in the first half. Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said he saw good things out of his team against the Bulldogs but would like to have seen better shot selection early on. Smith added that though the team may be going without three of its players Monday because of off-court issues, he will focus on the players on the court. One area of focus has been a lack of depth in the front court, but Smith said he was impressed with sophomore posts Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson III, both of whom have gained significant weight over the offseason. âÄúYou become a lot more confident when you become stronger and become more sure of what youâÄôre doing,âÄù Smith said. Smith said he was happy with the play of his freshmen on Thursday in their first collegiate game. One new face that already has Gopher fans talking is freshman Rodney Williams, whose high-flying dunk in the game against UMD sent the crowd into a frenzy. âÄúWeâÄôve had some pretty good athletes over the years,âÄù Smith said. âÄúBut heâÄôs up there with the best.âÄù Williams averaged 15.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a senior at Robbinsdale Cooper High School . Along with Williams, freshmen Justin Cobbs and Dominique Dawson look to smoothly transition into college ball before the regular season begins. Dawson, who Smith said he considers to be a redshirt, had four points, three rebounds and a steal in six minutes of play. Cobbs had four points and four assists in 14 minutes of play. Senior forward Damian Johnson said he has stressed to younger players the importance of slowing down to avoid mistakes. While the Gophers handled the outmatched Bulldogs with ease Thursday, sophomore guard Devoe Joseph said the game served as a mental boost for freshmen and veterans alike. âÄúTo get out there and play well âĦ it always builds confidence,âÄù Joseph said. Moorhead was 10-16 last year and 6-14 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Dragons fell to North Dakota State, a Division I opponent, 88-71 in their first exhibition game this year. Moorhead freshman Alex Novak had 14 points and seven boards in 23 minutes of play in his first collegiate game.