2:00 PM ET, December 31, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota and Oral Roberts both entered Saturday's game looking for momentum heading into conference play. One team found some.Maurice Hargrow scored 23 points to lead the Minnesota Gophers in a 67-54 victory over the Golden Eagles Saturday.Vincent Grier added 16 points and Dan Coleman 15 for Minnesota (9-2), which won its seventh straight.Caleb Green led Oral Roberts with 24 points and 15 rebounds. He was the only scorer in double figures for the Golden Eagles (5-7), who have lost three straight and five of six.Minnesota's three perimeter players -- Grier, Hargrow and Adam Boone -- combined for 16 of Minnesota's season-high 17 steals, including a career-high seven by Grier.Coach Dan Monson said the game was Minnesota's best 40 minutes of defense all year."We played like we know we can," Grier said. "It was a great feeling to have all three of us out there together." Grier missed five games earlier this year with a broken bone in his shooting hand and Hargrow three with a high ankle sprain. Each also missed a game for violating team rules."This was the first time in many games that we've had our whole team as far as perimeter players. It's definitely a confidence builder going into the Big 10 to have our perimeter players run together and get a good feel for one another," Hargrow said.Ken Tutt, who was averaging 16.3 points per game, was held to just six second-half points by the trio, going 2-for-15 from the field. Overall, Oral Roberts shot 33.3 percent from the field; Minnesota 45.6 percent."Tutt has a hard time when he has to play against bigger, athletic guards," said Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton. "Minnesota has good guards and they did a nice job. He's a great shooter, and got some decent looks in the second half, but he was maybe a little out of rhythm after the first half where he didn't get many good looks."Hargrow scored 10 of Minnesota's first 16 points before a Grier steal and left-handed dunk made it 18-13 eight minutes in. Grier then fed Spencer Tollackson for two dunks, the latter an alley-oop over Green to make it 22-15.A 9-0 run by Minnesota -- capped by a Grier basket underneath while falling backward -- put Minnesota up 31-20 late in the first half, before a short hook by Mickey Michalec ended a six-minute scoreless drought for Oral Roberts.After a leaner by Boone put Minnesota up 38-26 early in the second half, the Golden Eagles slowly began to chip away at the deficit. An inside basket by Green after a pass from Jonathan Bluitt got Oral Roberts within four points midway through the half, but Grier and Tollackson answered with jumpers for Minnesota."We battled and battled, but when you turn the ball over 24 times you're not going to beat a good team on the road," Sutton said. "Our defense was good enough to win."Green scored from in the paint to make it 52-46 with 5:46 remaining. But a pair of 3-pointers from Hargrow and two free throws from Boone and Tollackson offset a Bluitt layup, putting the Gophers up by 14 less than three minutes later.Minnesota, which had eight days off, now gets a week off before opening Big 10 play Jan. 7 against Northwestern. Oral Roberts, the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the Mid-Continent Conference crown, plays Monday at Chicago State."With a first conference bye, it's super-important that we can build on a positive going in and have a week to hopefully get healthy and get ourselves organized. This essentially gives us two weeks of practice, not including today, to get ready for the Big 10," Monson said. "We made a really nice jump in the last week and I hope we do the same heading into Northwestern."
|FG Made-Attempted||21-63 (.333)||26-57 (.456)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-20 (.250)||3-10 (.300)|
|FT Made-Attempted||7-12 (.583)||12-20 (.600)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|
|» Dec 31, 2005||@MINN 67, ORU 54||Recap|