The Minnesota Gopher men's basketball team won their opening NIT game Tuesday night, defeating High Point 88-81.
The Gophers are a number one seed in the NIT, they had to outlast a tough High Point squad that hung around all night.
Minnesota was able to hold off the Panthers thanks to the play of Maverick Ahanmisi. He scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Gophers.
At one stretch during the second half Ahanmisi scored 15 of 19 Gopher points. Ahanmisi was asked to step up because the Gophers played much of the second half without Deandre Mathieu. Mathieu was hurt after falling into a camera man under the hoop, no word on his availability for the second round game.
Minnesota built a solid nine point halftime lead, after not turning the basketball over in the entire first half. In fact, the Gophers didn't turn it over until they were five minutes into the second. The Gophers finished with just six turnovers in the game.
John Brown had a flashy 19 points in the game for High Point, before he fouled out in the games closing minutes.
The Gophers play against the winner of Utah and St. Mary's, in the second round.