Bickerstaff shines in exhibition

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The Independent Online

Minnesota 84, Ural Great (Russia) 69

Minnesota 84, Ural Great (Russia) 69

JB Bickerstaff scored 23 points as Minnesota defeated Ural Great of Russia 84-69 on Monday night in exhibition basketball.

Bickerstaff, a junior who sat out last season after transferring from Oregon State, sparked a 15-6 run midway through the second half as the Gophers expanded a 50-47 lead to 12 points.

Bickerstaff scored seven points in the run, including a 3-point basket for a 65-53 lead with 9:38 to play.

The Gophers played without 7-foot-1 (216-centimeter) sophomore Joel Przybilla, who was excused by coach Dan Monson for ÒpersonalÓ reasons.

Minnesota was also without sixth man Kevin Nathaniel, who sat out the game with a sprained foot.

Dusty Rychart added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which led throughout the game.

Terrance Simmons was also in double figures with 14 points for the Gophers.Minnesota led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but Ural Great scored eight of the last 10 points to trim the margin to 39-34 at half-time.

Otis Winston and Dragan Smiljanic led Ural Great (1-2) with 12 points each.The Gophers, who beat the Cimeba Mexican All Stars last Wednesday, are 20-1 in preseason exhibition games in the last 14 years.

Minnesota opens its regular season on Saturday against the University of Texas-Arlington at Williams Arena.

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O'Neal scores 34 as Lakers beat Suns 91-82

In Phoenix, Shaquille O'Neal scored 34 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked eight shots in his most dominating game this season as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 91-82 Monday night.

O'Neal, in his second game back from a one-game suspension for his fight with Charles Barkley, was 14-of-27 from the field and even made six of 10 free throws in the final quarter.

Glen Rice scored 23 points for the Lakers, including 11 of 12 free throws.Jason Kidd had 20 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who lost their third in a row.

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Jazz 91, Spurs 85

In Salt Lake City, John Stockton scored 20 points as the Utah Jazz handed the San Antonio Spurs their second loss in eight games.

Stockton shot 9-of-16 from the field and led the Jazz down the stretch. When the Spurs cut their deficit to 84-81 after holding Utah scoreless for almost three minutes, Stockton drove the left side of the lane and sliced past three defenders for a layup with 1:33 to play.

Tim Duncan scored 32 points for San Antonio, but had his last shot blocked by Greg Ostertag in the closing seconds.

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Pacers 96, Rockets 87

In Houston, Al Harrington scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Indiana Pacers rallied to beat the Houston Rockets, who fell to 0-5 at home.

The Pacers trailed by 10 points late in the third quarter before coming back to beat the Rockets, who got 18 points and a season-high 24 rebounds from Charles Barkley.

Reggie Miller scored 17 points for Indiana, while rookie Steve Francis had 18 points and 12 assists for Houston.

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SuperSonics 100, Nets 92

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Vin Baker and Vernon Maxwell scored 21 points apiece as Seattle beat New Jersey.

Gary Payton added 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Sonics handed the Nets their sixth loss in seven games, their worst start since opening the 1991-92 season with a 1-7 record.

Stephon Marbury led the Nets with 24 points and Kendall Gill added 15, including the 10,000th point of his 10-year career.

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