All right, everyone, it’s time to play Guess Who Said It? The following three quotes came from Tuesday night’s Gophers-Wisconsin basketball game at Williams Arena. See if you can guess who said what:
1) “What happened out there tonight has been the story of our season so far. We hang in there until the last few minutes and then we give up the big hoops and make mental errors. We give ourselves up. We struggle in the stretch.”
2) “I thought it was a great game to watch as a spectator and coach. Of course, I enjoyed the win, but I really enjoyed the execution of both teams.”
If you guessed, in order, Clem Haskins, someone who didn’t see the game, and Miles Tarver, you were 1-for-3.
Surprisingly, the first quote was uttered not by Haskins, who has said similar things about his team after many losses this season, but by Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett after Minnesota’s 58-48 victory.
The second quote was actually said by Haskins, who overlooked the ugliness of the game and focused on his happiness at the Gophers’ getting their second straight win after six straight losses to open the Big Ten season.
The last quote, of course, is conjectural, since Tarver is not allowed to comment to the media by Haskins’ order. But that’s about all the junior forward could have said — the piece of athletic tape he wore over his mouth during pregame warm-ups prevented him from saying anything. This gag was apparently self-imposed, designed to poke fun at the situation and to get the attention of ESPN camera crews.
For all the attention that the ban has gotten, however, Tarver still made a statement, so to speak, with his game Tuesday. While Quincy Lewis led the Gophers with 20 points and Kevin Clark hit three key 3-pointers, Tarver quietly amassed 11 rebounds and three assists. He also delivered a beautiful touch pass to Lewis for a lay-up with just under five minutes remaining that gave Minnesota a five-point lead.
“We put Miles in because we needed some ball movement and some rebounding,” Haskins said. “The reason Quincy scored in the second half was because Miles helped him get open and got the ball to him at the right times. We needed his intensity on the court, and his passing was outstanding. I told him at the end of the game that without his effort and intensity on the court we wouldn’t have won this game.”
Contributions from the aforementioned trio made it possible to make up for a poor shooting night by Sam Jacobson, who scored just 16 points on 5-for-19 shooting from the field. The subpar performance broke Jacobson’s streak of 20-plus point games at eight.
Jacobson’s shooting still appeared positively stellar compared to Wisconsin’s. Guard Sean Mason, who scored 24 points, was the only Badger not to display the shooting acumen of his surname.
After bolting to a 10-2 lead, Wisconsin went more than 10 minutes and 10 shots without scoring a field goal, letting Minnesota back into the game.
Another drought late in the game doomed the Badgers. They took a 43-41 lead with eight minutes left, but scored only one field goal the rest of the way. Clark’s 3-pointer gave Minnesota a 46-43 lead, and Wisconsin never challenged after that. The stretch-run struggles the Badgers went through in their third straight loss looked similar to those that plagued the Gophers through most of the first half of the conference season.
“That’s what hurt us earlier in the season, our play in about the last six minutes,” said Gophers guard Eric Harris, who hit a key jumper off the dribble with a minute left to put Minnesota up by six. “But tonight we were confident and settled down. This was a must-win for us.”
The game was a needed confidence-booster for the Gophers, who hadn’t won a game decided by 10 or fewer points since a 65-58 victory over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 3. Although the schedule now gets much tougher, with consecutive games against five of the top six teams in the conference, Minnesota is at least heading into it without reciting quotes such as Bennett’s — something that couldn’t be said until this week.
Note: Jacobson’s eight-game streak of 20 or more points did not equal a school record, as was reported earlier. Further research by University media relations revealed that Tom Kondla had two such streaks of 10 games (one in 1967 and one in 1968), and Lou Hudson had a nine-game streak in 1965.
TUESDAY’S SUMMARYWisconsin 23 25 — 48Gophers 28 30 — 58WISCONSIN (10-10, 3-5)
Coleman 2-3 2-4 6, Daugherty 4-13 2-2 10, Auriantal 1-3 1-2 4, Mason 7-17 6-6 24, Kelley 0-1 0-0 0, Duany 0-0 0-0 0, Kowske 0-1 0-2 0, Vershaw 2-8 0-0 4, Burkemper 0-2 0-0 0, Linton 0-0 0-0 0, Chambers 0-0 0-0 0, Vraney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 11-16 48.
GOPHERS (9-10, 2-6)
Jacobson 5-19 4-5 16, Lewis 9-16 1-2 20, Sanden 0-1 0-0 0, Clark 3-8 2-5 11, Harris 3-5 0-0 7, Nathaniel 0-1 2-4 2, Tarver 0-1 2-2 2, Archambault 0-0 0-0 0, Schoenrock 0-0 0-0 0, Broxsie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 11-18 58.
3-Point goals — Wisconsin 5-14 (Mason 4-8, Auriantal 1-2, Daugherty 0-2, Kelley 0-1, Burkemper 0-1), Minnesota 7-18 (Clark 3-6, Jacobson 2-7, Lewis 1-2, Harris 1-3). Fouled out — Coleman. Rebounds — Wisconsin 37 (Coleman, Mason 7), Minnesota 34 (Tarver 11). Assists — Wisconsin 14 (Auriantal 4), Minnesota 14 (Clark, Harris 4). Total fouls — Wisconsin 22, Minnesota 16. A-14,354.