Freshman Amir Coffey scored 10 points, all in the second half, and Minnesota came from behind to beat UT Arlington 84-67 on Monday night.
Reggie Lynch, in his first year with Minnesota after transferring last season, scored 14 points. Jordan Murphy added 11 points and 12 rebounds and five Gophers in all scored in double figures. Minnesota (2-0) trailed the final eight minutes of the first half against the preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite Mavericks (1-1).
But Coffey and Lynch ignited the Gophers in the second half. Minnesota used a 22-1 run to take control as UTA missed its first 12 shots of the half and had a scoring drought of over six minutes.
Jalen Jones scored 17 points and Erick Neal added 12 for UTA. The Mavericks pulled out road wins at Ohio State and Memphis last season, and appeared primed to pull another upset against the Gophers.
UTA hit 9 of 18 3-pointers in the first half and led by as many as six points.
UTA: The Mavericks return all five starters from last season and are testing themselves with a tough nonconference schedule. When the shots were falling, UTA showed it can still hang with major conference opponents.
Minnesota: The Gophers got the test coach Richard Pitino was seeking for his new-look squad. Coffey had eight of his points during Minnesota’s second-half run and added two steals. The 6-foot-10 Lynch gives the Gophers an option down low.
UTA’s three-game road trip continues at Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday and on to another major conference foe in Arkansas on Friday. Florida Gulf Coast will be playing only its second game of the season after opening with an 80-59 loss to Florida. Minnesota remains home on Wednesday against Mount St.-Mary’s. It’s a matchup of two schools with very different schedules. Minnesota plays its first six games at home and 12 of the first 14. Mount St. Mary’s starts the season with nine straight road games.