Minnesota had one of its better efforts of the season against Indiana Saturday night, as it broke the game open early and never trailed during an 81-58 blowout victory before a sellout crowd of 14,625 at Williams Arena.
Senior guard Lawrence Westbrook led the Gophers with 20 points on 6-of-9 attempts from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, as Minnesota shot a red-hot 55.4 percent (31-for-56) overall and 9-for-20 (.450) from beyond the arc.
With his 20 points, Westbrook reached 1,100 career points for the Maroon and Gold, which ranks 25th on Minnesota's all-time scoring chart. During tonight's contest, Westbrook moved past Eric Magdanz (1,083 points during 1960-63), George Kline (1,096 points during 1954-58), and Voshon Lenard (1,097 points during 1991-94).
Senior forward Damian Johnson also played a great game by scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Johnson added three blocked shots and made 6-of-11 field goals in the win.
The Gophers (16-10, 7-7 Big Ten) enjoyed a 16-point lead just over 10 minutes into the game, as they made their first five attempts from three-point range to race out of the gates against a Hoosiers team that had posted an 81-78 overtime win versus the Gophers in Bloomington, Ind., on January 17.
At the half, the Gophers had made 18-of-31 (.581) field goals, including 7-of-11 (.636) treys, to lead by a score of 44-25. Johnson had 12 points and five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, while Westbrook was also already in double-figures with 11 points.
The Hoosiers (9-17, 3-11) opened the second half with a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 13 points, 48-35, with 17:29 remaining. But Minnesota responded with a 12-4 spurt to push the lead back to 21 points, 60-39, on a three-point play by Johnson, and the lead remained at least 18 points for the rest of the game.
All 11 players who saw action in the game for the Gophers scored, including Bryant Allen, who recently joined the team after playing football for the Gophers during the Fall. Allen received a loud ovation from the crowd when he entered the game with 13:04 remaining, and the ovation was even louder when he made his first career field goal attempt by getting a three-pointer from the top of the key to roll in for a 68-47 lead with 11:42 remaining.
Sophomore forward Ralph Sampson III finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, including an alley-oop to freshman forward Rodney Williams that sent the crowd into a frenzy in the first half. Sophomore guard Devoe Joseph had nine points and four assists for the winners.
Indiana was led by Devan Dumes, who scored 20 points, while Jeremiah Rivers and Verdell Jones III each chipped in with 10 points. But the Hoosiers struggled to shoot the ball, making just 19-of-59 (.322) field goals, including 6-of-21 (.286) three-pointers.
Minnesota will conclude a three-game homestand, and try to stretch its winning streak to three games, when it plays host to fourth-ranked Purdue Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. (Central). That game is set to be televised live on the Big Ten Network. The Boilermakers defeated the Gophers, 79-60, on January 5 in West Lafayette.