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Associated Press, Published November 30 2010

College men's basketball: Farrakhan, Cavs rally to beat No. 15 Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Mustapha Farrakhan scored a career-high 23 points and Mike Scott had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead Virginia to an 87-79 victory over No. 15 Minnesota on Monday night.

Joe Harris scored 24 points and the Cavaliers (4-3) made 10 of 13 3-pointers to erase a 13-point first-half deficit and hand the Golden Gophers (6-1) their first loss of the season.

Trevor Mbakwe had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for Minnesota. But the Gophers scored just two points during a seven-minute span of the second half and couldn’t complete a furious rally in the final 5 minutes.

Mbakwe’s putback cut Virginia’s lead to 73-67 with 2 minutes to play, but Scott responded with a three-point play to put the game out of reach.

On a team with seven freshmen, it was the senior Farrakhan’s steadying presence and cool shot-making that stabilized them during a rocky start.

Devoe Joseph had 16 points in his return from a six-game suspension and Blake Hoffarber added 19 points for the Gophers, who led 14-5 early and were in control during a dominant first half.

That’s when coach Tony Bennett went to one of his three captains off the bench. The grandson of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Mustapha hit all four of his 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first 20 minutes to keep the Cavaliers from getting blown out.

Joseph, whose violation of team rules included troubles in the classroom, entered the game just over five minutes into it and made an immediate impact. The smooth combo guard hit three 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the first half, helping to offset Farrakhan’s impressive shooting.

With Mbakwe controlling the paint, Minnesota led by 10 at halftime. But the Cavaliers kept making jumpers to stay in the game. Will Sherrill’s 3-pointer from the corner – Virginia’s ninth 3 in 10 tries – capped a 12-1 run and gave Virginia a 49-48 lead with 13:23 to play.

Sherrill had to be helped off the court with an apparent right knee injury nearly halfway through the second half, but Jontel Evans got a layup off a steal and Harris blew by Colton Iverson for an easy layup and a 57-52 lead.

For a team that was blown out by Washington and also lost to Wichita State in the Maui Invitational, the Cavs grew more emboldened by the minute in the second half.

KT Harrell’s mid-range jumper gave them a 61-54 lead with under 9 minutes to play and Farrakhan’s fast-break layup capped the 17-2 burst that put the Cavs in control.

VIRGINIA (4-3): Sherrill 2-4 0-0 6, Scott 6-15 5-6 17, Harris 8-12 4-4 24, Harrell 1-5 5-6 7, Evans 1-2 1-2 3, Farrakhan 8-14 3-4 23, Sene 0-1 7-8 7, Baron 0-2 0-0 0, Regan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 25-30 87.

MINNESOTA (6-1): Hollins 2-3 2-2 6, Mbakwe 6-10 6-8 18, Sampson III 1-2 0-0 2, Hoffarber 7-14 0-1 19, Ahanmisi 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 1-1 0-0 2, Iverson 2-6 1-2 5, Armelin 3-7 0-2 7, Joseph 5-12 3-5 16, Walker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 29-58 12-20 79.

Halftime–Minnesota 39-29. 3-Point Goals_Virginia 10-13 (Farrakhan 4-5, Harris 4-6, Sherrill 2-2), Minnesota 9-22 (Hoffarber 5-11, Joseph 3-8, Armelin 1-3). Fouled Out–Armelin, Mbakwe. Rebounds–Virginia 36 (Scott 12), Minnesota 31 (Mbakwe 11). Assists–Virginia 19 (Evans 5), Minnesota 15 (Hoffarber 5). Total Fouls–Virginia 18, Minnesota 22. A–12,089.