Trevor Mbakwe overcame a poor shooting performance, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds, as Minnesota downed visiting Fairfield, 67-57, at Williams Arena.
Mbakwe shot just 2-of-7 from the field, but made up for it at the foul line, where he hit 16-of-18 free-throw attempts.
The 16 free throws were one short of tying the school record set by Larry Mikan in 1969.
Neither team established much of a rhythm in this game as Minnesota (3-0) and Fairfield (1-2) combined for 43 turnovers. The teams also combined to hit just four of their 24 attempts beyond the arc.
But Mbawke’s proficiency at the foul line was one of the few bright spots in this mistake-filled game and allowed him to stretch his double-double streak to six games for the Golden Gophers, who improved to 43-6 in non-conference games under coach Tubby Smith.
Minnesota, which finished with 23 turnovers, was able to overcome their carelessness on the offensive end in large part because it hit 27 of its 31 free throws.
Rakim Sanders and Ryan Olander led the Stags with 14 points apiece.