Minnesota coach Monson says he won't resign

Updated: March 22, 2006, 1:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MINNEAPOLIS -- The day after his team was eliminated from the National Invitation Tournament, Minnesota coach Dan Monson denied published reports that he would not be back with the team next season.

Monson told ESPN.com reporter Andy Katz taht athletic director Joel Maturi had assured him personally, and told the team, that Monson would return next season.

Monson said Maturi told the players that "we just have to weather the storm and move forward."

He has a 116-101 record in seven seasons as Gophers head coach with one NCAA Tournament appearance.

University spokesman Mike Lockrem also denied the reports. "He will be back next season as our coach," Lockrem said.

Maturi, reached by cell phone Wednesday, told The Associated Press he could not immediately comment because he was going into a meeting.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati beat Minnesota 76-62 in the quarterfinals behind Eric Hicks' 23 points and 11 rebounds at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.

Minnesota (16-15) was led by Vincent Grier's 18 points. Adam Boone added 12 points for the Gophers.

Hicks' four blocks gave him 110 for the season, breaking Kenyon Martin's single-season record of 107 in 1999-2000 and moving him into second place on the school's all-time list with 253, behind Martin's 292.

"It feels real good," Hicks said. "There's going to be some trash-talking on the answering machines."

Jamal Abu-Shamala's 3-pointer gave the Gophers an 11-5 lead.

But the Bearcats went on a 14-0 run, capped by Chadd Moore's 3-pointer, to take a 19-11 advantage. Moore sat out Cincinnati's first-round win over Charlotte with a sore back.

"[Minnesota] came out with more energy," interim Cincinnati coach Andy Kennedy said. "It was a wake-up call that we needed. It shook us. I'm proud of these guys for responding."

Hicks, who scored 23 points and had a career-high 18 rebounds in the Bearcats' first-round win over Charlotte, hit a 3-pointer to give Cincinnati its largest lead, 39-27, with less than two minutes left in the first half.

Maurice Hargrow's jumper cut Minnesota's deficit to 43-38 early in the second half but the Gophers would get no closer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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