The University of Minnesota men's basketball team (2-0) handed Georgia (1-3) a heartbreaking 72-69 loss at Williams Arena today. The Gophers held the lead nearly the entire game until the final six minutes when the Bulldogs tied the score at 58. Michael Bauer clinched the win for Minnesota with a three-pointer as time expired.
In the first half, Minnesota led by as many as 10 on three occasions and Rick Rickert scored 11 points. At the 7:22 mark, Georgia brought the game within one point, 25-24, but Minnesota answered back. The Maroon and Gold went on a 10-0 run and brought the margin back to 10 with five points from Rickert. Georgia then went on a 8-3 run to bring the score at the half to 37-32.
The Gophers and Bulldogs were about even in field-goal shooting in the first half with the Gophers shooting 44.4 percent to the Bulldogs 45.5. But, Minnesota was strong on three-pointers making 5-10 to Georgia's 1-5.
The second half was a much closer battle with Minnesota's largest lead reaching six and Georgia taking a one-point lead at the 5:32 mark. Minnesota's offense was sparked by Kevin Burleson as he notched 11 of his 14 points in the second half. Nine of his 11 second half points came off three-pointers.
Jarvis Hayes hit an off-balance three-pointer for the Bulldogs with 15 seconds left to tie the game at 69. After a Gopher timeout with 10 seconds left, Bauer saved a broken play and nailed a fall-away trey as time expired to give Minnesota the victory.
Maurice Hargrow led the Gophers with 15 points and a game-high and career-high eight rebounds. Burleson added 14 points while Rickert scored 12.
Hayes led all scorers with 21 points and added seven boards. Ezra Williams added 13.
This marked the first time since 1999 that the Gophers played a game in which both teams were ranked nationally with Georgia being No. 17 and Minnesota No. 22. With the win, the Gophers improved to 6-5 at home against ranked teams under Coach Monson.
Next up for Minnesota is Georgia Tech Wednesday, December 4 at 7 p.m. at Williams Arena.
Minnesota is 4-1* all-time against Georgia and 3-1 in the Monson era. Three of the five games have been decided by three points or less (all resulted in Minnesota victories)...Minnesota is 13-10 all-time against the SEC and 8-1 at home (not including vacated games)...Minnesota is 32-8 in non-conference competition under Dan Monson...Minnesota is 26-3 in non-conference home games under Monson. Only one of the losses (12/4/01 vs. UNC Wilmington) came in the regular season....This was the first time since 1999 that the Gophers played in a game when both teams were ranked...Minnesota is 6-14 against ranked teams under Dan Monson. Minnesota is 6-5 at home against ranked opponents under Monson.... Rick Rickert scored in double figures for the 24th time in 33 games as a Golden Gopher. He has reached double figures seven straight times dating back to last season... Maurice Hargrow scored in double figures for the second straight game and the third time in his career...Hargrow grabbed a career-high eight rebounds. His previous high was four... Michael Bauer moved into ninth place all-time at Minnesota with 84 career three-point field goals. Townsend Orr is eighth with 96... Ben Johnson recorded his 200th career rebound in the game. He has 204 for his career with Northwestern and Minnesota...Johnson scored in double figures for the first time as a Golden Gopher... Kevin Burleson recorded his 200th career rebound in the game...Burleson scored in double figures for the 24th time in his career... Michael Bauer scored in double figures for the 33rd time in his career.
Post Game Quotes
Minnesota Head Coach Dan Monson
"I think this time of year, it's great to win this game, but you have to measure yourself on improvements. This is a long year; you don't go on just wins or losses. That's not how you improve. I'm pleased with the win. It wasn't pretty. I was really pleased with our overall defense and mindset of the game."
"That was a very talented, well-coached team we played. I can see why they are a top-25 team. Give credit to them. But give credit to us to not let [the game] get away. We made mistakes, but I was pleased with the responses."
"There was one common goal tonight and that was to win. Everything else had to get put aside. The guys had a good mindset for that. We are not perfect. We are a better shooting team than how we played tonight. You can't be a good team and just win with offense or defense. When one goes down, you have to pick up the other."
Georgia Head Coach Jim Harrick
"This was a great ball game today. They jumped on us early, we fought back and they made a very difficult shot to win the game under very heavy pressure."
"Minnesota is a very well-coached team that I think is a lot better than what I saw last year. Maurice Hargrow and Ben Johnson really give them stability and athleticism. Hargrow was huge today scoring 15 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. He is leading their team in scoring right now and will only bet better."
" Rick Rickert was the focus of our defense. I think if you let him get 20, 25 or 30 points you are most likely going to lose. I think by us focusing on his so much it made other people beat us and that's what they did. They got very good distribution from other people that will make them a better team in the long run.
Minnesota Forward Michael Bauer
(On game winning shot) "The last play obviously was not the way it was designed. Kevin (Burleson) had the ball and was trying to drive into the lane with. He ended up passing it to me. I took one look at the clock and knew I had to get the shot off. The ball just hung on the rim and went in. It seem like it was there forever, and when it dropped it did not seem real. I love playing in games that go down to the wire. Making that shot was a lot of fun."
"Georgia played very tough tonight. They are a very good team with a talented group of players. It was good for us to win especially considering how tough they were making it for us to execute on offense at times today."
Minnesota Guard Maurice Hargrow
"We knew Georgia would be a tough team to play. They are a top 25 team and they showed why. It was a tough game and we could not shake them. It was exciting to win the game on the last second shot. I was under the basket and when I saw it drop I was just excited that it went in."
"This was good for us to show that we could hang in and battle with a team this tough. We are very happy to win this game against a team of Georgia's caliber. However, we can not be satisfied. We need to be greedy and continue to want to win and improve every game that we play."
Minnesota Forward Rick Rickert
"Georgia is a great team they did not rollover and quit at any point today. They just kept on coming at us. They frustrated us at times on offense and made things very tough today. It is exciting to get this win, because it shows we can battle with a good team down the stretch and find a way to win."
(On shooting struggles in the second half) "I was having some trouble getting some shots to fall today. I had some open looks that I could not hit and they were doing a good job of playing physical defense. I am just happy that we could have a great win like this against a top 25 team. This game showed we can be a tough team down the stretch, and we want to continue that throughout the season."