The University of Minnesota men's basketball team (7-3) defeated Oral Roberts (8-4) 85-80 today at Williams Arena. The Maroon and Gold gained the lead with 33 seconds remaining in the first half off a layup from J eff Hagen and two M aurice Hargrow free throws. In the second half, the Golden Gophers were led by Hargrow who recorded his first career double-double off 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Minnesota led by as many as 10 in the second half and held the lead the entire half. However, Oral Roberts gave the fans a scare when Tyrone Tiggs made a three-pointer with just under 20 seconds remaining to cut Minnesota's lead to four. The Golden Eagles were unable to capitalize off their last minute attempts as R ick Rickert made 1-of-2 free throws in the final seconds to give Minnesota the victory.
The first half proposed a very close game with four ties and six lead changes. The largest lead of the half was just six by Oral Roberts at the 7:12 mark. But, Minnesota went on a 7-1 run to tie the game at 27-27 with 4:34 remaining. A Hagen layup and two free throws from Hargrow gave the Golden Gophers a 35-33 lead at the end of the half.
Hargrow and Ke vin Burleson combined for 34 points and 16 rebounds with each having 17 points. Burleson was 4-of-4 from behind the arc while Hargrow was 11-of-16 on free throw shooting. R ick Rickert came off the bench for Minnesota adding 15 points and nine rebounds.
Oral Roberts was led by Tyrone Tiggs who had a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Josh Atkinson added 13 points for the Golden Eagles.
Next up for Minnesota is Sacred Heart on Sat. January 4, at 1:00 p.m. at Williams Arena.
Minnesota is 37-11 in non-conference games under Dan Monson. The Golden Gophers are 31-4 in non-conference games at Williams Arena under Monson...This was the first meeting between Minnesota and Oral Roberts...Minnesota is 10-0 all-time against the Mid-Continent Conference (not including vacated games)...Minnesota improved to 17-9 in games decided by five points or less under Monson...S teve Esselink and S tan Gaines made their first career starts...Ke vin Burleson scored his 700th career point in the first half...Burleson scored in double figures for the third time this season and the 25th time in his career...Burleson had a season-high 17 points. It marks Burleson's top scoring output since recording a career-high 24 at Purdue on 1/12/02...M aurice Hargrow scored in double figures for the ninth time in 10 games this season and the 10th time in his career...Hargrow had a career-high 10 rebounds. He recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds...Hargrow also set a career-best with 11 free throws made. He also attempted a career-high 16 free throws...J eff Hagen set a new career-high with nine rebounds. He also tied a career-high with three blocks and played a career-high 20 minutes...R ick Rickert scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and the 28th time in his career...A aron Robinson tied a career-high with five points (Eastern Washington, 11/24/01)...Esselink played a career-high 24 minutes...Minnesota made a season-high 31 free throws on 45 attempts. The 45 free throw attempts is the most since taking 49 vs. TCU on 11/25/00...Minnesota grabbed a season-high 51 rebounds. The 51 rebounds are the most since grabbing 54 vs. Sacramento State on 12/29/98 (game was later vacated).
Dan Monson - Minnesota Head Coach
"I'm proud of the team. I really am. I've been proud since Texas Tech of our mindset and taking responsibility. I've been asking a lot of these guys. We're not good at some things, and we certainly showed that today. But I'm tired of hearing that we're a soft team. We are not disciplined in certain areas, but we took care of some stuff today. There were significant contributions out of guys that we haven't had before. They took advantage of playing time and gave us a lift. It wasn't because we had guys pouting or because the effort wasn't there. This was a good win against a very good basketball team. I'm very proud of maybe not the way we played, but who we are today."
"There is no questions Rick Rickert is our best offensive player. [Not starting him and others] was not a punishment, not anything but trying to have people be accountable and emphasize other areas of the game. It was something to try. The guys responded very well. If we can't hold our best player accountable, it's hard to hold everyone else. It was not to pick on Rick or Jerry Holman or Ben Johnson, it was to try and help them learn and grow to more complete players. I would rather put more emphasis on what Jeff Hagen, Stan Gaines and Steve Esselink gave us. Aaron Robinson gave us really good minutes too. Hopefully everyone did grow today."
"Everyone knew they are all responsible for what happens to the team. A statement needed to be made. Sometimes you have to hold your best players responsible."
"The team had to be here (at Williams) at 7 a.m. All the guys were here by 6:45. No pouting - everyone was ready to play, in the right state of mind."
Scott Sutton - Oral Roberts Head Coach
"This was a fun game. This is a great arena - first time I've been here. Good crowd. I'm proud of how the team competed. We had a chance to come in here and win. Playing with this intensity, we will win games. We won't face another team as intense as Minnesota. In the second half, the difference was foul trouble so we had to go to zone. I thought our zone was effective, but we couldn't keep them off the glass."
"This team (Oral Roberts) is experienced and can score from the inside. We should have a good shot in competing for the conference championship."
On Minnesota's starting lineup
"We were surprised, to say the least. For Rickert and Holman not to start, I don't know the reason. They have lost a couple of games, maybe it was to get their attention.
Kevin Burleson - Minnesota Guard
"Watching them on film, we knew they were going to be a team that comes out and plays hard. We knew it was going to be a tough battle all the way. Each time we made a big shot today, they came back on us. We adjusted when we needed to and it paid off in the end for us."
"We're still working on things and we could have done a little better with the ball today. Each game we are trying to improve and I do think we took a step forward today."
Maurice Hargrow - Minnesota Guard
"It was kind of a dry game for everyone, but I will take the win. We tried to get our sixth-man, the fans, into the game as best we could. It was hard though with a lot of fouls, it made for a long game."
"They are a scrappy team and they taken a bunch of top-25 teams to the wire. They got on the floor tonight and made it a battle for us."
Jerry Holman -Minnesota Center
On starting lineup change
"Coach Monson is proving a point to us. He is serious about having our team improve and my offense has been struggling and this was a wake-up call. (The team) was a bit surprised but we know it will pay off for us in the long run."
"We had a good game today because we had some good practices this week. We are continuing to progress and (the lineup change) will help us get into shape for the Big Ten season. We need to keep working hard."