Minnesota hits FTs down stretch to beat Texas A&M

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Amir Coffey scored 12 points, including the game's final five points from the free-throw line, to push Minnesota to a gritty 69-64 victory over Texas A&M on Sunday, Nov. 18, at the TCL Vancouver Showcase at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Texas A&M tied the game at 57 after a steal and a breakaway dunk from Brandon Mahan with 5:44 to play. The Aggies then took the lead at 60-57 on their next trip down the floor on Mahan's ringing 3-pointer.

Minnesota rallied to tie the game at 60 and take the lead at 61-60 on a pair of free throws by Jordan Murphy with 3:31 remaining. The teams then traded free throws until Coffey canned two from the charity stripe with 1:26 to play for a 66-64 edge.

Coffey added to the total with three more free throws in the final minute, and that was enough to hold the Aggies at bay.

Murphy led the Golden Gophers (3-0) with 14 points while Dupree McBrayer added 10.

Mahan paced the Aggies (1-3) with 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Christian Mekowulu added 16 points, TJ Starks had 11 and Savion Flagg grabbed 10 rebounds for Texas A&M, which took its third consecutive loss after a season-opening victory over Savannah State.

Minnesota led by as many as 14 points in the first half after a dunk by Matz Stockman at the 12:03 mark before settling for a 36-26 advantage at halftime. Murphy and Coffey paced the Golden Gophers with seven points each, and Minnesota outshot the Aggies 54 percent-37 percent from the floor in the first half.

Mekowulu and Flagg led Texas A&M with six points each at halftime after the Aggies went scoreless over the final 2:24 of the first half. The Aggies kept the game within reach by forcing 13 Minnesota turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Texas A&M got to within 41-36 on a 3-pointer by Mahan with 16:07 to play, but Minnesota responded with a 7-0 run that was capped by Jarvis Omersa's layup 2 1/2 minutes later to give the Golden Gophers a 48-36 lead.

Texas A&M will play Washington while Minnesota will face Santa Clara on Tuesday in the event. On Wednesday, the Golden Gophers will conclude their time in Vancouver with a game against Washington.