Gophers start slow,

Michael Dougherty

The much-hyped Lewis and Clark duo lived up to its reputation Tuesday, as seniors Quincy Lewis and Kevin Clark led the Gophers to a 77-70 win over Seton Hall at Williams Arena.
Lewis was the navigator, pouring in a career-high 36 points — including 24 in the second half — as the Gophers erased an eight-point halftime deficit to fight off the scrappy Pirates.
Clark followed Lewis’ lead as the only other Gophers player to score in double figures, finishing with 16 points.
Down 28-12 midway through the first half thanks to some horrid rebounding and a hustling Pirates defense, Minnesota (2-0) clawed its way back into the game with an 11-5 run that closed the gap to 38-30 at halftime.
After a free throw by Pirates point guard Shaheen Holloway made the score 43-37 with 16:31 left in the game, Lewis scored nine points during a 16-4 run. The Gophers finally took their first lead of the game on Lewis’ jump shot with 12:21 left to go, and they never relinquished it.
“Lewis was unstoppable,” Pirates (2-3) coach Tommy Amaker said. “I don’t know what else we could have done against him.”
Lewis denied he was in a zone, instead giving credit to the rest of the team.
“You look at the box score and I had a lot of points,” he said. “But a lot of other guys were doing the big things — scoring is the easy part.”
Despite his modesty, Lewis’ point total was the most by a Gophers player since Bobby Jackson had 36 against Clemson in the NCAA tournament in 1997, and it came on 12-of-23 shooting. Lewis also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Minnesota’s rebounding problems attributed to the early 16-point deficit, as Seton Hall outrebounded Minnesota 32-18 in the first half.
“Rebounding was my biggest concern,” Gophers coach Clem Haskins said. “We weren’t blocking out, we lacked toughness and we need to be more ornery.”
Haskins said he used a “secret I can’t give away,” to roust his sluggish players at halftime.
Needless to say, whatever he told them helped. In the first half the Gophers were 11-of-35 (31 percent) from the field, but led by Lewis’ 7-for-11 pace in the second half the team shot 56 percent and outscored the Pirates 47-32.
“I got the ball in my sweet spot,” Lewis said, “and I was aggressive.”
He gave credit to some improved hustle on the defensive side of the ball, especially from sophomore Kevin Nathaniel.
Nathaniel, with whom Haskins is experimenting at point guard, scored five points, had five steals and dished out five assists.
Amaker, meanwhile, gave credit to the 14,486 fans who created a hostile environment while the Gophers worked their way back into the game.
“I knew we couldn’t run away with a game at Williams Arena,” Amaker said when asked of the 16-point lead. “Once we gave up the lead, I knew it was going to be a struggle.”
And a struggle it was, thanks to Haskins’ use of Nathaniel and sophomores Mitch Ohnstad and Terrance Simmons as a point guard platoon.
But Simmons played only eight minutes in the first half and watched the second half from the bench because he had a hard time pushing the ball against a quick Seton Hall defense.
Ohnstad scored seven points, but Haskins said Nathaniel is his guy for the moment.
“Mitch is very, very explosive,” Haskins said. “But I like Nathaniel better than Ohnstad right now.”