MINNEAPOLIS — After Temple upset third-ranked Syracuse earlier in the day, Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon felt the Leopards had a chance, too.
That went up in smoke early as the deeper, more talented Gophers ran away with a 75-50 win Saturday to stop Lafayette's winning streak at two.
"I was hoping," said Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon, who's close friends with Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "We're not as good as Temple right now, I think Minnesota is every bit as good as Syracuse."
Joe Coleman had 12 points and Oto Osenieks added 10 as Minnesota's bench outscored Lafayette's 42-1. The Leopards (5-9) were also outrebounded 48-25 and committed 19 turnovers.
Minnesota didn't trail after Lafayette's 6-4 lead, and ended its nonconference schedule at 12-1.
"They are so long and athletic, quick, too" said Dan Trist, who scored 14 points. "We really got outhustled tonight on all the little plays. That's something we have to address moving forward."
Seth Hinrichs was hoping for good things in his return to his home state. But the sophomore from tiny Clara City, Minn., about 100 miles west of the Twin Cities, didn't score until 13:22 left in the game and finished with 11 points. By that time, the Gophers were cruising to their eighth straight win.
"I was a little nervous at the beginning there, and I couldn't get adjusted," said Hinrichs about playing before several hundred friends and family members who made the two-hour trip to Minneapolis in two buses. "Their defense was swarming."
Minnesota led by 15 at halftime before stretching its lead soon after the break. Rodney Williams scored six points, and Coleman added four, including a steal and dunk, as the Gophers went ahead by 20 to the delight of a sellout Williams Arena crowd of 14,625.
Osenieks scored while being knocked to the floor and made the ensuing free throw to cap a 16-4 run that put Minnesota up 67-37 with 7:31 to play. Wally Ellenson scored on a reverse dunk two minutes later.
"Our guys showed a lot of poise and a lot of discipline to stick to our gameplan and get the ball inside," said Minnesota coach Tubby Smith. "I liked the way we rebounded, the way we attacked."
The Gophers only loss was to top-ranked Duke on Nov. 22. Minnesota will begin Big Ten play at home on Dec. 31 against No. 20 Michigan State.