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Williams leads Golden Gophers past Utah Valley

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Rodney Williams had 17 points, six rebounds and four steals, and the 24th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers used a second- half surge to get past Utah Valley, 76-51.

Damian Johnson added 15 points and six boards for Minnesota (3-0), which has won all three games at home this season. Al Nolen added 11 points, seven assists and six steals, and Paul Carter had 10 points in the win.

"I think guys were starting to get a flow towards the end of the first half instead of coming out from the start, coming out ready," Johnson said. "I think that after our subs, with five (players) in and five out, we just had a chance after that first sub to start realizing we had to get it going and start pushing it."

Jordan Swarbrick was the only Wolverine player in double-figures with 11 points, as Utah Valley (1-2) lost its second straight road game. Tyray Petty had eight points and nine rebounds, and Kevin Woods II added nine points in defeat.

"Well, I was hoping we could be a little more disciplined with the control of the ball," said Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker. "Be a little less vulnerable to pressure. Be able to deal with their athleticism, but we weren't able to achieve that goal tonight."

Leading by eight at halftime, Minnesota extended its lead to 15 by scoring the first seven points of the second half.

Devoe Joseph's three point play made it a 39-24 games, but a Swarbrick jumper with 11 minutes left cut Utah Valley's deficit to seven, 48-41.

The Gophers pushed their lead back up to 14 after six straight points that finished with a Williams layup with 8:14 left, and the hosts led by double digits the rest of the way.

Minnesota grabbed an early 12-5 lead after a three-pointer by Blake Hoffarber, but the Wolverines stayed close, cutting their deficit to 21-20 after a Swarbrick jumper with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.

The Gophers though, proceeded to open up some breathing room with a 12-3 burst. Johnson's two layups began the burst, and Ralph Sampson III's jumper with 28 seconds remaining made it 32-23.

The halftime score was 32-24.

Game Notes

Minnesota registered 15 steals as a team...This was the first meeting between the two schools...Sampson had nine points, Joseph had eight and Hoffarber had six for Minnesota...Eric Dearden had eight points for the Wolverines...Utah State turned the ball over 25 times, compared to just four for the Gophers.

11/20 01:06:34 ET

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