The Minnesota Golden Gophers survived a cold-shooting night and a strong effort from the visiting Bucknell Bison to eventually pull away for a 70-58 win in the season-opener for both teams.
Throughout the game Minnesota and Bucknell made runs at each other swapping the lead and control of the game several times right until one final offensive outburst from Minnesota closed the game and secured the win for the Gophers.
With just under six minutes to play, the Bison appeared poised to complete the upset on the road as Cameron Ayers drained a three-pointer to put Bucknell up 51-44. But Minnesota came back to life as Austin Hollins and Trevor Mbakwe combined to fuel an 8-0 run which put the Gophers back in the lead for good.
Minnesota eventually ended the game with a 26-7 run to move to 1-0 on the season. The Gophers only shot 40% from the floor on the night, including just 3 of 15 three-pointers. Mbakwe led the way for Minnesota with an efficient 17 points and 10 rebounds, needing only six field goal attempts to score his points, thanks to shooting 9 of 13 from the free throw line.
Austin Hollins added 13 points, knocking in two of Minnesota's three makes from behind the arc.
Bryson Johnson put a scare in the Gophers for Bucknell, knocking in 4 of 9 three-pointers and finishing with 16 points. Center Mike Muscala muscled his way to 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bison.