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Jan. 13, 2001

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Brian Brown hit two late free throws and Minnesota missed a pair of 3-point shots in the final seconds as Ohio State, which nearly blew a 23-point lead, held on to beat the Golden Gophers 75-72 on Saturday.

Ohio State (11-5, 2-1 Big Ten) led 48-25 with just over 15 minutes left and was still on top by 12 with under 3 minutes remaining. Kevin Burleson and Michael Bauer each hit 3-pointers to draw Minnesota (13-3, 1-2) to 73-72 with 33.9 seconds left.

Brown, who scored 11 points, made two foul shots with 24.1 seconds left.

The Gophers brought the ball down court and John-Blair Bickerstaff’s shot inside was blocked by Ohio State’s Ken Johnson with 14 seconds remaining. After an Ohio State turnover, Dusty Rychart’s 3-point attempt from the top of key bounced off the left side of the rim but Bickerstaff rebounded and passed back to Rychart, who had moved over to the left wing. He again missed, with Johnson grabbing the rebound as time expired.

Rychart, listed as Minnesota’s center, came into the game 3-of-14 behind the arc this season.

Sean Connolly scored 15 points – all on 3-pointers – to lead Ohio State, which had lost its last two games. Boban Savovic had 14 points, Johnson 13 and Zach Williams 10.

Terrance Simmons had 21 of his 27 points in the second half for the Gophers, who had won nine of their last 10 games. Bauer had 15 points and Burleson 12. Ohio State led 39-22 at the half, forcing 13 Minnesota turnovers and outrebounding the Gophers 16-11.

Down 10-7 at the 14:02 mark of the first half, the Buckeyes took command with a 21-2 run. Johnson, Savovic and Connolly each scored six points in the run. Connolly almost bookended the spurt with 3-pointers, hitting a shot behind the arc to give Ohio State the lead for good at 13-10, and then capping it with another 3 with 5:31 left for a 28-12 lead.

Johnson had 13 points for the Buckeyes at the break, who were 11-of-16 in free throws. Minnesota never got a foul shot.

The Gophers were 15-of-21 at the line in the second half, while Ohio State finished 23-of-30.

The Buckeyes had 15 turnovers in the second half.