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Minnesota tops USC for Smith's 500th career win
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Andre Hollins netted a team-high 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, and Tubby Smith earned his 500th career victory as No. 14 Minnesota dropped USC, 71-57, on Saturday at Galen Center,
Smith, a 22-year coaching veteran, became the 19th active coach to reach the 500-win plateau and improved his overall record to 500-214, including 113-69 in five-plus seasons with the Golden Gophers.
He has also had stints with Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky, where he won a national title in 1997-98.
Rodney Williams Jr. netted 13 points and ripped down 11 boards, while Trevor Mbakwe added 12 points for the Golden Gophers (10-1), who have won six straight games. Joe Coleman donated 10 points and five boards in the triumph.
Omar Oraby netted a game-high 15 points, while Byron Wesley contributed 13 and five boards in the setback for USC (3-6), which has lost five straight.
Minnesota got off to a quick 13-4 lead with just over 14 minutes to play in the opening stanza, and an Mbakwe jumper with under 10 minutes to play in the half gave the Golden Gophers a comfortable 23-10 advantage.
A pair of free throws by Jio Fontan cut the USC deficit to nine with 3:50 left, but the Gophers held a 38-26 advantage at the intermission.
Minnesota maintained control throughout the second half as a pair of free throws by Williams gave the visitors a 47-30 lead with less than five minutes gone in the second 20 minutes.
Wesley later hit a jumper with under four minutes to play, which pulled the Trojans within nine, but the Golden Gophers held on for the victory.
Oklahoma's Lon Kruger became the 18th coach to reach 500 victories with a win over Northwestern State on Nov. 30 in Norman, OK ... Smith has won nine regular season conference titles and five tournament conference titles in his career ... Minnesota leads the all-time series, 4-2, including the previous meeting, 55-44, on Dec. 3, 2011 ... The Trojans made just 1-of-11 3-point attempts and struggled at the free throw line, hitting 10-of-18 at the stripe ... Minnesota turned 11 offensive rebounds into 11 second-chance points and 17 USC turnovers into 22 points.
12/09 01:31:32 ET
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