Lawrence Westbrook scored 22 points and No. 5 Minnesota won its season opener 87-50 over Tennessee Tech on Friday night.
The senior guard, who led the Gophers (1-0) with 12.6 points per game last season, keyed a 16-5 run to start the second half and help Minnesota pull away. After the run, the Gophers led by at least 22 points the rest of the way.
Freshman Rodney Williams scored 14 and senior Damian Johnson chipped in nine points, six steals, five blocks and three assists for Minnesota. Ralph Sampson III notched nine points, a team-high nine rebounds and a pair of blocks, while Colton Iverson blocked four shots and grabbed seven boards to help control the interior.
The Gophers outscored the Eagles 44-10 in the paint.
Elijah Muhammad led Tennessee Tech with 12 points, while Kevin Murphy added 10. The Eagles (0-1) turned the ball over 27 times and shot just 28.3 percent.
Minnesota led by only seven with less than 2 minutes to play in the first half, despite forcing 17 turnovers the first 20 minutes. Westbrook's buzzer-beating 3 pointer to end the half capped a 15-7 run for a 37-22 halftime lead.
All six of Johnson's steals came in the first half, helping the Gophers overcome 5-for-10 free throw shooting _ a mark they matched in the second half.
Williams also gave the Gophers a spark in the first half with seven points _ including a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks _ two steals and a blocked shot in 9 minutes.
Out of uniform were highly touted freshman Royce White, senior Devron Bostick and junior transfer Trevor Mbakwe.
White is suspended indefinitely after being charged with shoplifting and assault stemming from an incident at the Mall of America in October. Bostick is also suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules, and Mbakwe will not be allowed to play until his court case on a felony aggravated battery charge is cleared up.