MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota forced Southwest Minnesota State into 22 turnovers and limited the Mustangs to 33 percent shooting in earning a 73-48 victory in an exhibition men’s college basketball game at Williams Arena on Monday night.
Kenny Byers led the Mustangs with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Grant Kramer added 10 points and six rebounds.
SMSU shot just 25 percent (8 of 32) in the second half and closed the game making 17 of 52 field goals with five 3-pointers on 12 attempts.
Minnesota, which won 22 games last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, had four players score in double figures with Payton Willis pouring in 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting with three 3-pointers. Daniel Oturu added 12 points and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.
Minnesota finished the game shooting 42 percent (27 of 64), including 8 of 21 from 3-point range.
Both teams grabbed 42 rebounds, but Minnesota committed just eight turnovers to hold a 19-6 scoring edge on points off of turnovers.
The two teams played to a tight game in the opening seven minutes as SMSU’s Braedan Hanson connected on a 3-pointer with 12:54 remaining to pull the Mustangs to within 11-10.
Minnesota countered with an 11-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to build a 22-10 advantage. The Gophers’ outstanding defense forced the Mustangs into seven turnovers during the run before Brian Dayman stopped the drought with a layup at the eight-minute mark.
The Gophers would later extend the lead to 37-19, but the Mustangs used a 7-0 run to close the half behind Byers. The junior guard first hit a 3-pointer before closing the half with four free throws to cut the deficit to 37-26 at halftime.
SMSU shot 45 percent (9 of 20) from the field with four 3-pointers in the opening half and held a 22-16 rebound margin, but 15 turnovers led to 11 points for the Gophers.
SMSU’s Cliff McCray hit a layup early in the second half to cut the Gopher lead to 40-28, but SMSU went scoreless for nearly six minutes. Minnesota would extend the margin to 47-28 before Grant Kramer would stop the Mustang drought with a three-point play with 12:45 remaining.
Minnesota would hold a 59-33 advantage but SMSU wouldn’t go away as Nick Dufault drilled a 3-pointer and was followed by back-to-back field goals from Byers to cut the deficit to 59-40 with 6:45 left in the game. SMSU would later trail 68-48 with two minutes left following a layup by Kevin Totusek, but the Gophers would score the five points to earn the 25-point victory.
Hanson and McCray each chipped in with six points for the Mustangs. Weston Baker Magrath, Jake Phipps, Totusek and Dayman also scored for SMSU.
Southwest Minnesota State continues exhibition play on Thursday night at St. Olaf College. SMSU opens the regular season on Nov. 9 at the University of Central Missouri.