ov The University of Minnesota men's basketball team (5-1) sneaked past Arkansas-Little Rock (4-3) 86-84 in overtime tonight at Williams Arena. Michael Bauer hit two free-throws in the extra frame to seal the victory for the Gophers. Minnesota is now 4-1 in overtime under Dan Monson.
Minnesota led 33-23 in the first half but squandered the lead as Arkansas-Little Rock went on a 10-3 scoring run to hold a 46-44 advantage at halftime. Rick Rickert finished the half with 10 to pace the Golden Gophers.
In the second half, Minnesota battled with Arkansas-Little Rock until Jerry Holman's tip-dunk brought the Gophers to a 74-71 lead. However, UALR's Nick Zachery's hit a deep three-pointer to tie the score and send the game into overtime.
Minnesota controlled overtime taking an 84-79 advantage until UALR's Zachery hit another trey and brought the Trojans within two. Bauer's key free throws with :51 seconds left sealed the win.
Rickert led all scorers with 25 points and seven rebounds. This is the eighth time Rickert has gone over 20 points in his career at Minnesota. Three other Gophers managed double figures with Ben Johnson scoring 14 points, Maurice Hargrow 13, and Jerry Holman 11.
Minneapolis native Jibrahn Ike led Arkansas-Little Rock with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Next up for Minnesota is Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday, December 13, at 5:30 p.m. at Williams Arena.
Minnesota is 35-9 in non-conference games under Dan Monson. The Golden Gophers are 29-3 in non-conference games at Williams Arena under Monson...This was the first meeting between Arkansas-Little Rock and Minnesota. Minnesota is 4-0 all-time against the Sun Belt Conference...Minnesota is 33-47 all-time in overtime (not including vacated games)...Minnesota is 4-1 in overtime under Monson. This was the first overtime game since playing Tulsa in the NIT second round on 3/19/01...Minnesota is 16-9 in games decided by five points or less under Monson... Rick Rickert scored his 500th career point in the game...Rickert scored 20 points or more for the eighth time in his career. Minnesota is 8-0 in those games...Rickert scored in double figures for the 26th time in 36 games as a Golden Gopher... Ben Johnson notched double figure scoring for the second time as a Golden Gopher...With 11 blocks tonight, Minnesota has blocked at least eight in every game this season... Michael Bauer tied a career-high with four assists. He recorded four dishes for the fourth time in his career...Bauer scored in double figures for the third straight game, the fifth time in six games this season and the 37th time in his career... Maurice Hargrow has reached double figure points in all six games this season and seven times in his career...Hargrow played a career-high 42 minutes. Rickert played a career-high 39 minutes...Hargrow made a career-high three three-point field goals... Kevin Burleson tied a career-high with three blocks... Jerry Holman scored in double figures for the fourth straight game and the 15th time in his career. Minnesota is 12-3 when Holman reaches double figures...Holman blocked a career-high five shots. He is averaging 3.7 per game over the last four contests.
Dan Monson - Head Coach for Minnesota
"I know people are going to say Arkansas-Little Rock - overtime win? But I'm not looking at what went wrong. I'm looking at what went right, and I thought we played well. Our defense in the first half didn't play well. [Ark.-Little Rock] created that. We had our share of problems. But those kind of games you learn a lot from. It's a character check. Besides the free throws in the last few minutes, I thought they guys made good plays. We forced them to make tough plays down the stretch."
"It's important to keep the momentum going. We can't keep trading baskets and maintain the momentum. In the beginning, our defense was our Achilles heal. It ended up being our savior in the end."
"The free throw shooting is a rhythm thing. Those two [Moe Hargrow and Kevin Burleson] are good at the line. The important thing is to get the defensive stops after missing. The more you dwell on it, the more the kids lose confidence."
Minnesota Forward Moe Hargrow
"That game shouldn't have been that close. If we play at the level that we are capable of for the whole, we would have blown them away. I give a lot of credit to them though. They were very scrappy and forced us to dig down deep at the end.
"We are very lucky to have gotten another win in a close ballgame. This team is very young and still has a lot to learn. I'm seeing great signs early from this team, and winning these close ones build for the rest of the season."
Minnesota Forward Michael Bauer
"We are a better team then them, on paper. If we put our effort and the maximum level, the game would have never gone into overtime. This game shows us that we can't play down to our level of competition and still expect to win. We need to bring our "A" game for 40 minutes."
"I congratulate them on a great game. They are a very good team and hit a lot of big shots down the stretch. They really exploited some mismatches that their smaller, quicker guards had on us that almost won it for us."
Porter Moser - Head Coach for Arkansas-Little Rock
"I'm real proud of our guys. They came in believing that we could win. They played as hard as any coach can hope or expect. But we fell to a very good team. It hurts what we lost, but we can take things away from this game. It's tough to win when free throws are 36-10. Our lack of depth in the post position was a factor. They took advantage of it. But I'm still proud of our guys."
On tonight's start compared to the team's poor start vs. Memphis:
"We talked a lot about that bad Memphis start. We didn't give ourselves a chance to win at Memphis. Here, we got a lot of shots. We had a lot of shots at the eight- or nine-second mark on the shot clock, after we made three or four passes. But our two Minneapolis kids (Jibrahn Ike and Tony Travis) really were the difference in our start. Those two kids were key. They played great. I'll take their efforts with anybody."
On Rick Rickert's play:
"He had 25 points. We tried to give him a lot of looks. We mixed it up with different ways of defending him - double-teaming, one-on-one, fronting him up. But he got to the foul line 12 times. Great players get to the line. He does a lot of great things for them. To have a 6-11 guy be able to come outside is a real difference maker."