RALEIGH, N.C. – Amanda Zahui B. scored the Gophers' final nine points on free throws and blocked a potential tying three-point shot with two seconds left as Minnesota edged North Carolina State 60-55 on Wednesday night at the Reynolds Coliseum in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Zahui B., a 6-5 sophomore center, had 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for the Gophers (7-1). She made 11 of 14 free throws.
Senior point guard Rachel Banham of the Gophers also had 21 points plus nine rebounds and three assists.
The Gophers kept feeding Zahui B. inside in the final three minutes. Her two free throws with 1:11 left put the Gophers ahead 56-53. She made two more with 8 seconds for a 58-55 lead, then blocked Len'Nique Brown-Hoskin's three-point shot for the Wolfpack (5-3) with two seconds to play.
After her block, Zahui B. was immediately fouled and made her final two free throws with one second left.
"You've got to recognize you have a 6-3 player in your grill," Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said of Zahui B.'s late block. "You can't just shoot that."
Minnesota went into the game averaging 82.4 points per game, which ranked No.22 nationally, but neither team shot well and both committed 17 turnovers.
The Gophers shot 37.5 percent, the Wolfpack 33.9.
Minnesota used a 12-0 run early in the second half to erase a one-point deficit and take a 44-33 lead. But North Carolina State countered with a 7-0 run to get within four. The Wolfpack got within one point several times, at 54-53 and 56-55, but never took the lead.
Mostly it was a Zahui B. and Banham show, like it was so often last season. Only three other Gophers scored. Even senior forward Shae Kelly, who had been in double figures every game, was held to eight points on a 4-for-10 shooting night.
Zahui B., who finished the game so strong, scored the Gophers' first seven points of the second half. And with her closing nine points in a row, Zahui B. had 16 of the Gophers' 33 points after halftime while Banham had 11 and the rest of the team only six.
Banham struggled on her three-pointers, making only three of 10, but she still moved within three of the program career record of 230.