College basketball: Minnesota 70, Perdue 67
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MINNEAPOLIS ó The Minnesota Golden Gophers were eager to prove they belong in the headlines for beating top teams, not simply for trouble off the court.
Blake Hoffarberís 26 points and sharpened perimeter defense helped the Gophers outlast eighth-ranked Purdue 70-67 on Thursday night.
ěIt felt like the rim was just a little bigger than normal,î Hoffarber said.
The game itself was just a little bigger than normal, too, given the teamís tumultuous week. Hoffarber went 10 for 15 from the field and Al Nolen added 13 points, eight assists and three steals for the Gophers (13-4, 2-3), who watched leading scorer and rebounder Trevor Mbakwe get dropped from the starting lineup due to a misdemeanor charge of violating a harassment restraining order.
ěI couldnít be prouder of our kids and their ability to stay focused and overcome some of the distractions weíve had of late,î coach Tubby Smith said. ěIt all happens within their heart and within their minds.î
JaJuan Johnson had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Boilermakers (15-2, 4-1 Big Ten), whose 10-game winning streak ended. They also lost for the first time in nine conference road games, dating to last January.
Miss. St. 69, Ole Miss 64
OXFORD, Miss. ó Dee Bost scored 25 points and Renardo Sidney added 24 as Mississippi State came from behind to beat Mississippi 69-64 on Thursday night.
Sidney and Bost ó who had played in a combined four games coming into the contest because of various suspensions ó were spectacular. Both scored season-highs and hit crucial shots every time Ole Miss threatened to pull away, combining to shoot 18 of 28 from the field.
It was a galvanizing win for Mississippi State, whose season had been defined by an embarrassing brawl between Sidney and teammate Elgin Bailey in the stands of the Diamondhead Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 23.
But the Bulldogs played their best basketball in the in-state rivalry game. Mississippi State shot 24 of 49 from the field (49 percent) and outrebounded the Rebels 38-33.
Sidney, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, showed why heís considered an NBA prospect despite missing more than a yearís worth of games because of NCAA eligibility issues. Using his 275-pound frame to score in a variety of ways, he made 9 of 12 shots from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range.
Bost, a 6-foot-2 junior who missed the seasonís first 14 games because of academic issues and an NCAA suspension for failing to pull out of the NBA Draft by the deadline, was 9 of 16 from the field and added eight assists.
Mississippi State (9-7, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak. Kodi Augustus added nine points ó including four crucial free throws in the final minute ó and 14 rebounds.
UCLA 62, Oregon St. 57
CORVALLIS, Ore. ó UCLA blew a 17-point second-half lead, then scored the gameís final seven points to defeat Oregon State 62-57 on Thursday night.
Lazeric Jones and Reeves Nelson had 13 points each for the Bruins (10-6, 2-2 Pac-10), which led 47-30 after Nelsonís basket with 15:57 remaining.
Roberto Nelson had 13 points off the bench for Oregon State (7-9, 2-3). His 3-pointer gave the Beavers their only lead, 57-55, with 2:44 to play.
Joshua Smith tied the score with two free throws, and Jones hit the go-ahead basket for UCLA with 39 seconds left.
Oregon Stateís Calvin Haynes missed a close shot, and Smith grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws with 16 seconds left to put the Bruins ahead 61-57.
UCLA was 23 of 47 from the field; Oregon State 20 of 62. The Bruins had a 41-34 rebounding edge.
The Beavers, whose 10.9 steals per game entering Thursday ranked second in the nation, finished with 15.
Reeves Nelson followed Tyler Honeycuttís 3-pointer with a three-point play as the Bruins built a 43-26 cushion. Kevin McShaneís basket with 11:58 remaining capped a 10-2 Oregon State run that cut UCLAís lead to 49-40.
After a Reeves Nelson layup, the Beavers reeled off 11 unanswered points during a five-minute stretch to tie the game. Joe Burtonís basket off a Cunningham pass finished the run, making it 51-51 with 6:22 remaining.
UNC-G 75, Appalachian St. 74
BOONE ó Aaron Brackett scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as North Carolina-Greensboro defeated Appalachian State 75-74 on Thursday night, snapping a 16-game losing streak.
The Spartans (0-16, 0-6 Southern Conference), who along with Centenary were one of two teams left in Division I without a win, ended their worst start in school history.
UNC Greensboro trailed 41-28 at halftime and outscored the Mountaineers 15-4 to start the second half. Brian Coleís 3-pointer brought it to 44-43 with 16:30 remaining.
Brandon Evansí layup gave the Spartans a 61-59 lead with 8:13 left. It was their first lead since a little under five minutes into the game.
UNC Greensboro, which shot 54.5 percent in the second half (18 of 33), extended its lead to 73-68 with 3:23 to go.
Omar Carter, who scored 19 points, missed a layup with 8 seconds left for the Mountaineers (7-8, 3-2).
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