8:00 PM ET, February 18, 2004
Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Kris Humphries spent most of Wednesday night taking advantage of Indiana's soft middle. Then he beat the Hoosiers from outside.Humphries hit two 3-pointers in the game's final three minutes and made two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to help Minnesota rally for an improbable 73-71 victory at Indiana."Anytime you go into someone else's place, it's basically stealing one," Humphries said. "We were down the whole game and it was just a great team effort."Still, the Golden Gophers (10-14, 2-10) needed every bit of Humphries' career-high 36 points to win their first road game of the season.With less than a minute to go, it appeared Minnesota would have another miserable trip home from Bloomington, where they've now won five times. They trailed 71-65 with 51 seconds left.But Humphries, the Big Ten's top scorer and rebounder, started the comeback with his second 3-pointer of the game.Humphries was sensational all night. He grabbed 12 rebounds, hit 12 of 22 shots from the field and 10 of 16 from the free-throw line, and again the Hoosiers (12-11, 6-6) had no answer inside.For Indiana, it was an all-too-familiar sight -- another post player scoring a career high, another blown lead and another home loss. The Hoosiers have now lost three straight at home and five of their last six overall. It was their fifth home loss of the season, and coach Mike Davis was dumbfounded by how this one got away."I've been saying this the past two or three games, we couldn't play any dumber than we played," Hoosiers coach Mike Davis said.What bothered Davis most was how Indiana lost.The Hoosiers seemingly had control until Humphries' 3-pointer with 44 seconds left.Indiana's mistakes took care of the rest.After a time-out, Bracey Wright, the Hoosiers' leading scorer, lost the ball out of bounds at midcourt. Then Humphries found an open Brent Lawson cutting to the basket for a layup. He also drew a foul on Roderick Wilmont and completed the three-point play to tie the score at 71 with 17 seconds to go.Davis wanted to play for one shot, but Ryan Tapak, a former walk-on, took a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim with 3.6 seconds left and George Leach was called for a foul on the rebound.That sent Humphries to the free-throw line for two free throws, which proved the difference.Marshall Strickland's desperation 3-pointer from the corner never got to the rim."We went into the Michigan State game wanting an F game -- focus and fun for 40 minutes," Minnesota coach Dan Monson said. "Tonight we said we wanted to throw another F in there -- we need to finish, and that was something we fortunately did today."Leach saved the best game of his career for a night the Hoosiers desperately needed it.Wright was off the mark, finishing with 14 points. A.J. Moye, the team leader, spent the first 30 minutes of the game in foul trouble but still finished with 15 points.Yet it was Leach who gave the Hoosiers the inside scoring threat that they've lacked all season. He finished with a career-high 26 points and a team-high eight rebounds.And it still wasn't enough. Leach's foul in the final seconds tarnished everything."It doesn't make sense," Davis said. "Fouling too much is something we've been talking about the last two months and we put them in the double bonus in each half tonight."After Humphries' free throws, Indiana still had a chance to tie or win the game.But another error cost them. This time, Strickland took a long inbound pass, drove into the corner and threw up an off-balance 3-pointer instead of driving to the basket. Lawson's rebound preserved the win and gave Minnesota something to -- finally -- celebrate."It feels so good," Lawson said. "We've played so well in stretches this year and made too many mistakes. We finally got our first road win and it took a long time to do it."
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