Williams leads Minnesota past Miami 78-60 in NIT

Associated Press Modified: March 20, 2012 at 12:01 am •  Published: March 19, 2012

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Rodney Williams scored 21 points to lead Minnesota to a 78-60 victory over Miami in a second-round NIT game Monday night.

The Gophers never trailed after starting the game on a 12-0 run. Williams scored 16 points in the first half and has now scored 20 or more in his last three games.

"I feel like I've been a little bit more consistent lately," Williams said. "The guys have been giving me the ball in the right spots. I was feeling good."

Minnesota (21-14) advances to the quarterfinals at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night. The Blue Raiders defeated Tennessee earlier Monday.

The Gophers expanded a 35-23 lead at halftime with a 15-2 spurt early in the second half. Andre Hollins hit consecutive 3-pointers and Andre Ingram's putback with 12:22 remaining ended the surge and gave Minnesota a 56-33 lead.

"We came ready to play," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "Rodney got us off to a good start. We had some guys step up who hadn't played a lot."

Hollins and Joe Coleman finished with 14 points each for the Gophers.

Rion Brown scored 16 points for Miami (20-13).

"We started the game very lethargic," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "We never seemed to be able to generate any defensive intensity."

The Gophers shot 58 percent as they converted 28-of-48 shots and out-rebounded Miami 41-26.

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