Mbakwe, Sampson lead Minnesota over Bemidji State

Published 8:54 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011


MINNEAPOLIS — Tubby Smith knew Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III would be way too much for little Bemidji State in the paint.

What the Minnesota coach really wanted to see was how the many new faces on the Golden Gophers handled their first game in maroon and gold.

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They were shaky at best, allowing the Division-II school from Northern Minnesota to hang around a lot longer than anyone really expected.

Mbakwe had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Sampson scored 15, leading Minnesota to a 71-58 exhibition victory over Bemidji State on Tuesday night.

“They looked a little nervous,” Smith said of the second unit. “They didn’t play well together, didn’t shoot it well, didn’t do a lot of things well.”

Rodney Williams added 10 points for the Golden Gophers, who outrebounded Bemidji State 45-23.