UAB 68

(4-3, 2-2 away)

Minnesota 69

(6-2, 5-1 home)

    8:00 PM ET, December 14, 2005

    1 2 T
    UAB 28 4068
    MINN 39 3069

    Top Performers

    UAB: C. Johnson 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Minnesota: M. Hargrow 20 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast

    Minnesota 69, UAB 68

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Maurice Hargrow wasn't nervous when he strode to the free throw line with the game tied and 7.5 seconds to go.

    This is what he lives for.

    "I felt no pressure," Hargrow said. "That's what you play basketball for. That's why you play sports. I was at home on the line."

    Hargrow sank one of two free throws to lift Minnesota to a thrilling 69-68 victory over UAB on Wednesday night.

    Hargrow, who had missed three straight games with a high ankle sprain he suffered against Maryland on Nov. 30, led Minnesota with 20 points, the final one capping a wild final two minutes.

    The Gophers (6-2) led by five points with 34 seconds to play before Squeaky Johnson and Marvett McDonald hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 68 with 10.6 seconds to go.

    But with the Blazers pressing in their usual aggressive style, Demario Eddins fouled Hargrow in the backcourt while trying to make a steal.

    After Hargrow made his shot, Johnson raced the length of the floor and had a good look at a leaner just outside the lane, but it glanced off the rim and Vincent Grier grabbed the rebound to preserve the Gophers' fourth straight win.

    "It's like they say, 'Close but no cigar," UAB coach Mike Anderson said. "I'm very proud of our guys. They had every opportunity, especially in the first half, to fold their tent and they didn't."

    Eddins, the Blazers' leading scorer who sat out most of the first half for disciplinary reasons, stood in the lane stunned disbelief, hiding his face in his jersey.

    "I'll take the blame for the loss," Anderson said. "I didn't have the right people in at the right time. The game didn't come down to Demario's foul."

    Johnson had a career-high 15 points and six assists and Eddins had 11 points and five assists for the Blazers (4-3).

    Adam Boone scored 14 of his 15 points in the first half and Dan Coleman scored all 11 of his points in the second half for the Gophers, who took advantage of Eddins' absence to take a 16-point lead in the first half before nearly letting it slip away in the closing seconds.

    "I don't know what the story was there, but I wish it would have been a longer story," Gophers coach Dan Monson said of Eddins' absence. "He changed the game when he went in."

    Eddins, who was averaging nearly 16 points a game, missed the team bus from UAB to the airport, so Anderson sat him down for nearly the entire opening period.

    The Blazers clearly missed their primary scoring option, shooting just 32 percent in the opening half to fall behind by 11 points.

    Their shooting woes also limited the Blazers, who have led the nation in steals for the past three seasons, from setting up their frenetic, full-court trapping defense.

    With Eddins watching from the bench, UAB went scoreless for nearly five minutes.

    The Gophers took advantage, going on a 10-0 run highlighted by two driving layups by Grier and a pair of jumpers from Hargrow, who said his ankle loosened up as the game went on.

    "Mo was unbelievable," Monson said. "In the amount of time he's off and how pain he was in, that's what older guys, what men, do. He sucked it up."

    The Gophers made 63 percent of their shots in the first half and 50 percent for the game.

    Eddins started the second half and immediately made a difference. He hit two jumpers and opened up the floor for his teammates during an 11-2 run in the first four minutes.

    "You saw the calmness he brought," Anderson said. "He's been in there since he got here. But that's why you call it a team."

    Johnson picked up the slack, hitting 6 of 8 shots to nearly triple his scoring average for the season.

    "He was probably the player of the game," Anderson said. "The guy wants to win. People think he can't shoot, but Squeaky can score."

    The Blazers needed just one more shot from Johnson, but his last shot rimmed out, much to Hargrow's relief. But Hargrow said he saw this one coming.

    "I knew I was going to have an impact," Hargrow said. "When I laid on my bed last night I knew it because I'm not going to settle for anything else."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 68 69
    FG Made-Attempted 25-65 (.385) 24-48 (.500)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-22 (.364) 6-15 (.400)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-12 (.833) 15-23 (.652)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 16

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 14, 2005 @MINN 69, UAB 68Recap