- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Jordan Murphy scored 12 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Minnesota defeated Chicago State 70-52 on Wednesday night.

Carlos Morris and Charles Buggs each scored 14 points for the Gophers (6-5), who avoided their first four-game nonconference losing streak in nine years.

Chicago State (3-9) got 12 points from sophomore guard Clemmye Owens, a transfer from Bethune-Cookman who was making his debut for the Cougars after sitting out the fall semester. The Cougars were held to just 32.8 percent from the floor as they lost their eighth straight.

Murphy, a 6-foot-6 freshman, has emerged as Minnesota’s most important player in the nonconference schedule. He’s posted double-doubles in four of the Gophers’ last five games and set a career high on the boards on Wednesday.

The Cougars led by as much as 7 points in the first half as Minnesota struggled to get its offense going. But Murphy hit four free throws and had a tip-in and a putback dunk to put the Gophers on top 24-22. Buggs then made two 3-pointers as Minnesota closed out a 17-2 run over the final 7:44 of the first half, taking a 32-24 lead at the break.

Chicago State pulled back to within two points early in the second half, but Minnesota went on another extended run to pull away. The Gophers outscored the Cougars 25-5 over an 11-minute span to ice their first victory since they beat Clemson on Nov. 30.

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TIP-INS

Minnesota: Buggs started eight of the first nine games this season, but his playing time took a big hit the past two games. He played just eight minutes in a loss to South Dakota State and spent the entire game on the bench against Oklahoma State on Saturday. Buggs entered Wednesday’s game early in the first half and led the Gophers with 10 first-half points.

Chicago State: The Cougars were facing their third Big Ten team this season. They lost to Illinois 82-79 on Nov. 23 in the Emerald Coast classic, and in their most recent game they lost at Northwestern 77-35.

UP NEXT

Minnesota hosts Milwaukee on Dec. 23.

Chicago State hosts Western Illinois on Saturday.

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