The University of Minnesota Men's Basketball team (19-12) advanced to the NIT Final Four with a 63-58 overtime victory over Temple (18-16) this evening at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. The game was tied 54-54 at the end of regulation but Minnesota scored the first five points in overtime and never looked back. The Golden Gophers advance to play Georgetown in the NIT semifinals on Tuesday night.
Minnesota put together one of its top defensive efforts of the season, limiting the Owls to just 27 percent shooting (18-67) for the game. Rick Rickert led the Golden Gophers with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Temple took an early 20-12 lead on a Maurice Collins layup with 9:55 remaining, but a 12-4 Gopher run knotted the score at 24-24 on a Stan Gaines jumper. Temple ended the half on a 7-2 run to take a 31-26 lead at the half.
After Temple matched its largest lead of the game of eight points at 34-26, the Golden Gophers went on a 12-2 run to take a 36-34 lead on a Michael Bauer layup. After play went back-and- forth for several minutes, including five ties, Minnesota took a 54-50 edge on a Rickert jumper with just over a minute left. A Brian Polk three- pointer brought Temple within one at 54-53 with 50 seconds left. After a Jerry Holman turnover, David Hawkins was fouled and made 1-of-2 from the line to tie the score at 54-54. Ben Johnson missed a three-pointer as time expired and the game went to overtime.
Minnesota scored the first five points in overtime to take a 59-54 lead with 1:35 remaining. After a Hawkins dunk that closed the Owls within three points, Johnson and Kevin Burleson made four straight free throws to ice the game. Temple missed its last four shots in a desperation comeback attempt.
Michael Bauer added 12 points and seven rebounds while Maurice Hargrow and Burleson tallied 11 apiece.
Polk led Temple with 19 points while Hawkins added 14.
Minnesota will leave Sunday for the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Golden Gophers will face Georgetown in the NIT semifinals on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN. The championship and third-place games will take place Thursday night.