Lewis, Clark sit out Winthrop game

by Michael Dougherty

After the Gophers literally fought their way to a 43-point exhibition win over the Philippines two weeks ago, senior forward Quincy Lewis asked innocently, “What fight?” when asked about the brawl during the first half of the game.
Unfortunately for Lewis, he was reminded of his involvement in the fight when coach Clem Haskins suspended him and fellow senior Kevin Clark for their participation in the fight.
Haskins said he was sent a tape of the scuffle on Wednesday which provided different views and showed Lewis and Clark’s actions to be more physical than first thought.
“When I looked at the tape they sent us Wednesday, I decided that this was not an appropriate way for college athletes to behave,” Haskins said after Saturday’s 68-59 win over Winthrop. “We teach tough and aggressive play, but we want to play within the rules.”
Sophomore guard Mitch Ohnstad said the team found out about the suspensions on Thursday, but Haskins waited until right before tip-off to let everyone else know.
“Your official scorebook keeper came down and told me about 30 minutes before the game,” Eagles coach Gregg Marshall said when asked when he was notified.
Senior forward Miles Tarver was suspended for last Saturday’s game with Appalachian State by the Big Ten for his part in the fight, and at the time the team said they did not expect any further suspensions.
But Haskins said further review of the tape warranted some sort of action.
“We wanted to send the right message to everyone that we are not here to roughhouse anyone, but (to) treat everyone with respect,” he said. “We want to climb on their fannies when the game starts, but do it the right way — in a very professional way.”
Marshall said he has a satellite dish at his home in South Carolina, and some of his players were watching the Philippines game on Midwest Sports Channel when the fight occurred.
“Our guys kept saying to me, `Well, coach, you tell us not to get involved in things like that. What’s gong to happen? Is there going to be any type of NCAA or Big Ten deal with that?'” Marshall said. “And I said I don’t know because I don’t know the rules, and it’s not our business.”
However, it became Marshall’s business when his team faced the prospect of playing a Gophers team with 52 percent of its offense watching the game in street clothes.
“Not having those two guys playing was a relief for me as a coach, because I know what kind of talents they are,” Marshall said.
Gophers guard Kevin Nathaniel picked up some of the scoring lost with the suspensions by pouring in a career-high 15 points.
He took the high road when talking about the Eagles, who are clearly a step below the Gophers, calling them “a great basketball team.” And he refused to acknowledge the convenience of the suspensions coming against a team like Winthrop rather than last Tuesday against a more competitive Seton Hall team.
“We’d like to have Quincy and Kevin for every game,” Nathaniel said. “Whether it be this game, Seton Hall, Indiana or Purdue, we don’t want to lose players.”
Haskins said this is the last he wants to hear of the fight.
“It’s over, behind us and we’re moving on,” he said. “There are no more tapes, we’ve burned them all.”