Tubby Smith is fond of saying he's more concerned with how a game finishes than how it starts. It's a nice motto to have this season -- and in particular the past two games -- as the Gophers have proven to be much better finishers than starters.

For the second game in a row, Minnesota erased a halftime deficit, this time defeating Indiana State 76-69 behind clutch play down the stretch from Chip Armelin, Julian Welch and a host of others.

Armelin had 13 off the bench, while Welch had a game-high 17 (easily his best as a Gopher). Andre Hollins added 16 points in just 19 minutes as he again battled foul trouble.

Minnesota trailed 58-49 with about 8 minutes remaining before closing the game on a 27-11 run.

And the bottom line is the Gophers only got 13 points from Trevor Mbakwe (9), Rodney Williams (3) and Ralph Sampson III (1) and still managed to win.

The big question: Welch has proven to be an excellent closer. At some point, should he be a starter? Or does Smith not mess with a good thing as the Gophers head into the Old Spice Classic title game on Sunday at 6 p.m.?

"I thought Julian had an outstanding game," Smith said postgame. "That was the difference in the game."

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