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Gophers Fall in NCAA Tourney Opener to Middle Tennessee St.

March 17, 2017 10:35 AM

Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points, Giddy Potts added 15 and Middle Tennessee took down another Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, beating Minnesota 81-72 on Thursday.

Twelfth-seeded Middle Tennessee proved it was no one-year wonder after upsetting Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last March.

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The Blue Raiders (31-4) instead played like seasoned NCAA veterans with the way they held off the Gophers' comeback attempt from a 17-point deficit in front of a loud and large contingent of Minnesota fans.

***CLICK VIDEO BOX ABOVE FOR POSTGAME INTERVIEWS WITH GOPHERS PLAYERS***

Upshaw responded with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer and a reverse layup during a 7-3 run to help give Middle Tennessee a 10-point lead with 3:40 left.

Coach Kermit Davis' club will move on to face No. 4 seed Butler in the second round on Saturday.

A season of redemption came to an end for fifth-seeded Minnesota (24-10), which bounced back from an eight-win season in 2015-16 to return to the NCAAs.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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