VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Jordan Murphy scored 14 points, Amir Coffey added 12 points, and Minnesota hit 10 of 14 free throws in the closing minutes to hold off Texas A&M 69-64 on Sunday night in the Vancouver Shootout.
The Golden Gophers (3-0) watched a 14-point first-half lead disappear, but made enough free-throw attempts late to get the victory despite going the final four minutes without a basket. Texas A&M led 64-63, but had four straight empty possessions, missing a pair of long 3-pointers late in the shot clock and committing a pair of turnovers. The Gophers capitalized on the mistakes at the free-throw line, making six attempts in the final two minutes to hold off the Aggies.
Dupree McBrayer added 10 points for the Gophers.
Brandon Mahan scored a career-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and helped ignite Texas A&M’s rally, but the Aggies (1-3) lost their third straight and faltered in the closing minutes. Mahan had 14 total points on the season through three games.
Christian Mekowulu added 16 points and TJ Starks had 11 for the Aggies.
Minnesota led by as many as 14 in the first half, only to let Texas A&M slowly chip away. The Aggies pulled within 41-36 early in the second half on Mahan’s corner 3-pointer, but Minnesota built the lead back to 11 after Murphy’s first basket of the second half for a 51-40 lead with 11 minutes left.
That’s when the Aggies got hot, running off 12 of the next 16 points and closing within 55-52 on Isiah Jasey’s dunk. Matz Stockman scored for Minnesota on a rebound putback, but the Aggies scored six straight capped by Mahan’s dunk to pull even at 57-all with 5:50 left. Mahan followed with his second 3-pointer and Texas A&M had its first lead since the opening minute of the game.
Daniel Oturu’s rebound basket with 4:09 left ended Minnesota’s three-minute scoring drought and was the final field goal for the Gophers. Murphy, Coffey and McBrayer all took turns hitting free throws to seal it.
Minnesota: The Gophers are now 20-15 against SEC opponents and picked up a second straight nonconference Power Five win after beating Utah.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will be frustrated by their start against Minnesota, but the rebound in keeping the game close into the second half was a far better showing than their last game against No. 3 Gonzaga. The Aggies trailed Gonzaga by 10 at halftime, but gave up 51 second-half points and trailed by as many as 34.
Minnesota: The Gophers face Santa Clara on Tuesday.
Texas A&M: The Aggies face Washington on Tuesday.