Sampson, Hoffarber Lead Gophers Past St. Joe's Blake Hoffarber led all scorers with 20 points, and Ralph Sampson III had 16 points and 10 rebounds, in a 97-74 win.
Minneapolis -- Junior guard Blake Hoffarber led Minnesota in scoring for the third-straight game, finishing with a season-high 20 points, and the Golden Gophers (7-3) stretched their winning streak to three games by running past St. Joseph's, 97-74, Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 12,952 at Williams Arena.
Minnesota outscored the Hawks, 52-20, in the paint, with 6-11 sophomore Ralph Sampson III finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and 6-10 sophomore Colton Iverson adding 11 points and seven caroms for the winners. The Gophers held a 43-33 advantage in rebounding, with all 11 Minnesota players grabbing a board in the game.
With the game tied at 24-24 and 8:38 left in the opening half, Minnesota went on a 14-2 run to break the game open. Hoffarber bookended the run by making two of his five three-pointers in the game, pushing Minnesota's advantage to 38-26 with 3:36 left before the break. The junior guard wound up connecting on 7-of-14 field goals on the day -- including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc -- to record a season-high for points, and just one off his career-best effort.
Sampson III also reached double-figures before the half, recording dunks on back-to-back possessions in the closing minutes, to help Minnesota stretch its lead to 48-33 at intermission. It was the largest halftime deficit the Hawks (3-6) have faced this season, which includes a game earlier this week versus #3 Villanova, as well as then-#7 Purdue.
Senior guard Lawrence Westbrook made 6-of-10 shots to finish with 14 points for the Gophers, while sophomore guard Devoe Joseph came off the bench to make 4-of-7 attempts (2-for-3 from long-range) for 10 points. Ten of Minnesota's 11 players scored in the win. Senior forward Damian Johnson finished with nine points, five assists, four rebounds, three steals, and a pair of blocks for Minnesota.
St. Joseph's was paced by 15 points each from Garrett Williamson and Darrin Govens, with Chris Prescott adding 14 points in the team's sixth-straigh loss. Minnesota's bench outscored St. Joe's reserves, 36-21.
In the second half, the Hawks cut Minnesota's lead to 10 points, 52-42, with a little more than 16:00 left. But Minnesota responded by outscoring St. Joseph's, 31-14, over the next 9:33 to push the lead back to 27 points at the 6:48 mark. The Gophers' largest lead was 31 points, 95-64, with 3:19 remaining, but St. Joe's closed the game with a 10-2 run for the final 23-point margin.
The Golden Gophers made 39-of-73 (.534) field goals in the contest, including 9-of-20 (.450) from behind the three-point line. St. Joseph's shot 41.7 percent in each half, finishing at 25-for-60, with 8-of-25 (.250) attempts coming from long-range. The Hawks turned the ball over 10 times in the opening half, and finished with 16 turnovers for the game.
Minnesota returns to action Tuesday night, when it plays host to Northern Illinois at 7:00 p.m. (Central). That game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.