Keady, Haskins see games different

by Michael Dougherty

Perspective, that’s what it’s all about.
After the Gophers men’s basketball team’s 40 minutes of horror at Purdue on Tuesday where it scored the least amount of points it has had since Joel Przybilla was four years old, Thursday’s rematch was much better.
At least from Gophers’ coach Clem Haskins’ perspective.
After Tuesday’s 54-42 loss, Haskins declared, “It was an ugly basketball game. It is not the way a game should be played at this level.”
Purdue coach Gene Keady had the same perspective of Thursday night’s 62-48 Gophers win.
“This was an ugly one,” Keady said after Thursday’s game. “I thought the other night’s game was beautiful, but this was ugly.”
From the NCAA tournament selection committee’s perspective, both games were pretty ugly, but they probably will have to invite at least one, if not both teams to their party affectionately known as “March Madness.”
Players and coaches from Purdue (19-10, 7-8 in the Big Ten) and the Gophers (16-9, 7-8) were all trying to put their collective finger on the pulse of people who pick the field of 64.
Gophers forwards Miles Tarver and Dusty Rychart said their team needs to win two more games. Keady and Boilermakers’ guard Alan Eldridge both said their team also needs to win two more.
“I was honest with my players when I took a look at the field, and I told them I would put us in the field of 64,” Haskins said. “But you never know with the committee.”
One thing Haskins and his team do know for sure was that a loss against Purdue on Thursday night would pop the bubble the Gophers have been balancing on.
“(Tonight’s game) was a sense of urgency, and the players really felt that,” Haskins said.
Minnesota forward Quincy Lewis, who played what is likely his last game at Williams Arena (barring a NIT bid), scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He atoned for the season-low 13 he scored during Tuesday’s Mackey Arena debacle.
Eldridge played great defense on the Big Ten’s leading scorer Tuesday night, but he said it’s hard to hold a potent scorer like Lewis down two games in a row.
“He came ready to play on senior night and he led his team to a big win,” Eldridge said of Lewis. “He used the screens real well, and once he gets that open look, he has an excellent jump shot.”
For once the opposing teams shared a common perspective. Lewis gave his teammate’s and the coaching staff credit for an abundance of screens on the offensive end, which enabled Lewis to knock down 10-of-19 shots.
Lewis said he knew he needed to come off the screens tighter, slow down and let the passing lanes develop.
“We had both better ball movement and set more effective picks,” Lewis said. “For four years (the coaches) have been lecturing and teaching us the art of using screens and reading them.”
Four years, 1,567 points and countless screens later, Lewis has played his way to the 1997 Final Four and the 1998 NIT Championship.
Now he has a chance to get past Northwestern’s Evan Eschmeyer, Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves, and Ohio State’s Scoonie Penn on his way to picking up the Big Ten Player of the Year trophy.
At least that’s the perspective of Gophers fans.