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The Gophers went on a 12-0 run midway through the second half and held off the Gaels (23-12) down the stretch.

Austin Hollins added 10 points for Minnesota.

Stephen Holt had 24 points as the only St. Mary’s player in double figures.

St. Mary’s was held 16 points below its average, and leading scorer Brad Waldow was limited to three points. Minnesota center Elliot Eliason was tough on Waldow and the rest of the Gaels under the basket, coming up with seven blocked shots and eight rebounds.

“(Elliot) was huge,” Pitino said. “He wasn’t playing great (in previous games) but now he’s playing really well.”

The game was part of a men’s/women’s NIT doubleheader at Williams Arena. The Gophers women’s team beat SMU 77-70 in a second-round game of the WNIT.