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Minnesota Snaps Losing Skid, Tops Indiana

January 29, 2006

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Vincent Grier had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Minnesota beat No. 13 Indiana 61-42 on Sunday to snap a six-game losing streak and hand the Hoosiers their worst defeat of the season.

J’son Stamper added 12 points for the Gophers (10-8, 1-6 Big Ten), who held Indiana to 32 percent shooting, including 5-for-23 from 3-point range. The shooting woes came five days after the Hoosiers shot 37 percent from the field in a loss at Iowa.

Indiana (12-5, 4-3) entered last week leading the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (46 percent) and second in overall field-goal percentage (51).

But the Hoosiers looked unprepared for Minnesota’s suddenly aggressive defense. Marco Killingsworth led Indiana with 15 points but looked frustrated throughout as the Hoosiers failed to find any kind of a scoring rhythm. Robert Vaden added 11 for Indiana, which has dropped three of its last four to Minnesota.

Minnesota held Indiana to its lowest scoring output of the year and raced to a 34-16 halftime lead. The Gophers took their biggest lead at 10:28 of the second half when Stamper’s jumper made it 49-25.

Indiana’s frustrations boiled over in the second half. Killingsworth gave Stamper an extra shove after Stamper collected a missed free throw by Grier. And Sean Kline later picked up an intentional foul for throwing Stamper to the ground at 3:44 after Minnesota pulled down another of its missed foul shots.

Looking to give his struggling team a badly needed spark, Minnesota coach Dan Monson started freshman guard Jamal Abu-Shamala and seldom-used junior Zach Puchtel in place of usual starters Moe Hargrow and Spencer Tollackson.

The result was an uncharacteristically strong first half for the Gophers, who’ve been plagued by turnovers and badly missed shots since the Big Ten season began. Minnesota played its most aggressive defense of the year, hounding Indiana’s ball handlers, contesting every shot it could and diving for loose balls.

Puchtel finished with six points and played solid defense against Killingsworth. Abu-Shamala had seven points.

Playing with two early fouls, Killingsworth played only 10 minutes in the first half and the Hoosiers were outscored 19-4 during a 10-minute span in the first.

Minnesota hit 16 of its 26 first-half shots and held Indiana to its lowest scoring half of the year.

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