Minneapolis, MN (WKZO) – After sharing the regular season Big Ten Title with Michigan and Ohio State last season, Tom Izzo and company opened Big Ten play on Monday afternoon with the goal of capturing their first outright title since 2009.
However, the #9 Minnesota Golden Gophers, who after starting the season unranked, entered Monday’s contest ranked in the top 10 for the first time since the 1981-1982 season, had their own thoughts of a Big Ten Title.
With 22 points from Andre Hollins and a double-double (11 points and 12 rebounds) from Trevor Mbawkwe, Minnesota continued their impressive start to the 2012-2013 season with a 76-63 victory over the Spartans.
The Gophers (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) led the entire first half, with their largest lead coming at 37-25 with 4:57 left in the first half. Minnesota was able to take advantage of early foul trouble from MSU’s leading scorer Keith Appling, who was forced to the bench after picking up his 2nd foul with just under six minutes left in the first half.
MSU (11-3, 0-1 Big Ten) was able to pull within one before halftime after Travis Trice dilled a 3 pointer as time expired to cut Minnesota’s lead to 39-38.
With Appling back on the court for the 2nd half, MSU was able to take the lead for the first time and with 8:24 held a five point advantage.
From that point on, Minnesota held the Spartans to only four more points, as the Gophers outscored MSU by 18 for their 13th victory on the season.
Michigan State had won 12 of the previous 13 contests against Minnesota including four in a row.
The Gophers outrebounded MSU by 14. MSU entered the game averaging 10.2 more rebounds than their opponents.
Michigan State's next game will be at home on January 5th against Purdue.