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Gophers rally falls short against Michigan State

No. 19 Spartans hand Minnesota first loss

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Malik Hall had 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists as No. 19 Michigan State handed Minnesota its first loss of the season, 75-67, in the Big Ten opener for both teams in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Gabe Brown contributed 15 points and eight rebounds and Tyson Walker also tossed in 15 points for the Spartans (8-2). Joey Hauser had 10 points and seven rebounds and Max Christie added nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the victory.

Eric Curry led the Golden Gophers with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Jamison Battle tossed in 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Payton Willis chipped in nine points and five assists for Minnesota (7-1).

The Spartans overcame 13 turnovers that Minnesota turned into 13 points. The Gophers only committed three turnovers.

Michigan State controlled the boards 44-29 and scored 20 bench points while the Gophers only had 10. The Spartans also shot 48.1 percent from the field, compared to 39.7 percent shooting by Minnesota.

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The Spartans lost by 25 points at Minnesota last season but got off to a much better start this time around.

Michigan State made its last six field-goal attempts in the first half and took a 37-24 lead into the break. The Spartans finished the half on a 14-5 run, which included five points from Hall.

Hall led the Spartans with 11 points before the break and Walker had nine. Curry led the Golden Gophers with 10 points.

The Spartans also scored the first five points of the second half on a Brown jumper off a Minnesota turnover and a Christie 3-pointer.

A dunk by Battle cut the Spartans' lead to 11 but Michigan State scored the next seven points, including a 3-pointer from Brown.

Michigan State was still up by 14 with less than five minutes left. The Golden Gophers scored the next five points but couldn't get the deficit under nine until E.J. Stephens' dunk with 41 seconds remaining.

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