Gopher men finish strong, defeat UNC-Wilmington 108-82

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The Gopher men's basketball team had another slow start but finished strong to defeat North Carolina-Wilmington Saturday afternoon 108-82 at Williams Arena, the Associated Press reports.

Carlos Williams led the way for Minnesota, scoring a career-high 24 points including all seven of his free throws. Nate Mason had 18 points, Mo Walker added 17 and DeAndre Mathieu 13 with four steals and a career-best 11 assists. Charles Buggs scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, according to the Associated Press.

Minnesota (11-2) was behind by as many as 9 points, 29-20, in the first half, but went on a 34-6 run and took a 54-38 lead at halftime, the Associated Press reports.

The Seahawks (5-5) started out hot, shooting more than 70 percent from the field in the first few minutes of the game, according to the Star Tribune. They also out-rebounded the Gophers 21-11 in the first half. But they committed 20 turnovers in the game, compared to just eight for the Gophers.

Minnesota got hot midway through the first half and shot nearly 60 percent from the floor for the game to take control and win going away, according to

Freddie Jackson led UNCW with 21 points. Craig Ponder and Addison Spruill each scored 12.

The two head coaches – UNCW's Kevin Keatts and Minnesota's Richard Pitino – were assistants together at Louisville during the 2011-12 season.

The Gophers open Big Ten play next week with three challenging games: On the road against Purdue on Wednesday afternoon and at Maryland on Saturday; and at home against Ohio State on Jan. 6.

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