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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Gophers on their way to NYC as they win in NIT

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MINNEAPOLIS -  (SportsNetwork.com) - Austin Hollins netted 32 points on 8- of-14 shooting from the floor, adding 10-of-10 from the free-throw line, to lead his top-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers to an 81-73 victory over the third-seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the quarterfinal round of the National Invitation Tournament at Williams Arena.

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Joey Kind chipped in 15 points in the win, and Maurice Walker came off the bench to score 12 points with nine rebounds for Minnesota (23-13). The Gophers advance to the semifinal round of the NIT, and will take on the winner of Florida State and Louisiana Tech. Neil Watson scored 16 points and dished out six assists for Southern Miss (29-7). Daveon Boardingham tallied 15 points and five rebounds in the loss. Minnesota connected on 51.6 percent of its shot attempts in the first half, including an impressive 8-of-19 from 3-point distance, to take a 44-40 lead into the intermission. Southern Miss made 45.5 percent of its shot tries in the frame, and hit 4-of-10 from long range.

The Golden Gophers cooled off just a bit in the second half by netting 47.6 percent of their field goal tries, but buried 15-of-17 from the free-throw line. The Eagles hit 42.3 percent of their shots from the floor, and fell behind an additional four points in the period. Minnesota outscored Southern Miss from the free-throw line, 19-12, and had a slight 14-12 advantage in points off turnovers. The Golden Eagles won the battle in points in the paint, 30-20.   

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Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has agreed to a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears.  The deal is reportedly worth 32-million dollars and includes more than $15 million in guaranteed money.  Thirty-one-year-old Allen spent the past six seasons in Minnesota.  He had a career-high 22 sacks for the Vikings in 2011 - a half sack shy of the NFL single-season record.  Bears coach and St.Louis Park native Marc Trestman said "we're really excited about adding Jared to our football team...we know what his abilities bring to the table."

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Trevor Plouffe doubled twice, drove in a run and scored once, as the Minnesota Twins defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 4-1, in Grapefruit League action. Joe Mauer also had two hits and drove in a run for the Twins. Mike Pelfrey started for Minnesota and allowed two hits over three scoreless innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter. Bud Norris started for the Orioles and was tagged with three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked one. Steve Pearce drove in the lone run for Baltimore. 

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