Badgers feed on Gophers’

Michael Dougherty

MADISON, Wis. — There is one constant for the 19th-ranked Gophers men’s basketball team, and too many variables.
The constant, of course, is the superb play of forward Quincy Lewis, who continued his torrid scoring pace with 28 points in Saturday’s 61-50 loss to No. 12 Wisconsin (19-3, 7-2 in the Big Ten) at the Kohl Center in Madison.
However, just about everything else about the Gophers is a variable.
Minnesota coach Clem Haskins said he watched two of his starters and his first man off the bench play their “worst games” of the season.
Center Joel Przybilla fouled out in only nine minutes of play, and grabbed zero rebounds, blocked zero shots and scored exactly zero points.
Senior guard Kevin Clark shot 3-for-7 and scored six points as the Gophers (13-5, 4-4) headed for the locker room with a 27-27 tie. But he went 1-for-8 in the second half and finished with 10 points, with all four coming after the outcome was decided.
Guard Mitch Ohnstad, who scored a Minnesota career-high 14 points in Tuesday’s overtime win against Indiana, went 0-for-4 and did not score.
The only offensive threat for Minnesota other than Lewis was Miles Tarver. That’s right, the same Miles Tarver who begged the public to show him how to make a layup after the Indiana game.
He finished with eight points, all in the first half, and grabbed 13 rebounds — seven coming in the game’s first seven minutes.
Believe it or not, a Wisconsin reporter asked Badgers coach Dick Bennett what adjustments his team made at the half to help shut down Tarver’s offense. When Tarver was told of the press conference talk he said he needed proof.
“Did you get that on tape?” Tarver asked. “If you did, I’ll listen to it every night before I go to bed.”
But all jokes aside, Tarver played some tremendous ball inside and was the difference in the first half, a half the Gophers led most of the way.
He was the only inside presence for Minnesota after Przybilla picked up his second foul at the 16:34 mark of the first half.
“He’s so relentless and aggressive, and I think he caught Andy (Kowske) by surprise,” Bennett said of Tarver. “We put our best defensive rebounder against him and he still beat him. I don’t think my players realized how tough that kid is.”
Tarver said the team’s play in the first half was fantastic.
“I thought it was one of the best halves we played all year, and I thought we realistically had a shot at this game,” he said.
But Kowske and Mark Vershaw, who had eight points, eight rebounds and five assists, made adjustments to Tarver and held him scoreless in the second half with just four rebounds.
Fifth-year guards Ty Calderwood and Sean Mason also stepped up their defense on the perimeter. The Badgers committed just six turnovers while forcing 14 for Minnesota. Calderwood scored 18 points, Mason 16.
“Those two guys got 34 out of 61 points,” Haskins said about the Badgers backcourt duo. “As our guards continue to grow and improve, perhaps before the year is over we can be in the same ballpark.
“We’re just going through the growing pains. In the backcourt, when the game was tied, they forced some turnovers [and] really turned the game around.”
The Gophers stuck with Wisconsin for a while coming out of the locker room, and a Kyle Sanden hook shot cut the Wisconsin lead to 39-38.
But Badgers reserve guard Duany Duany hit a three-pointer to give Wisconsin a four-point lead, their biggest lead of the game. Lewis came back with a three-ball of his own.
Then with nine minutes left Duany drove to the basket and was fouled by Lewis. Lewis caught an elbow on the play and it opened up a cut over the senior’s eye which would require a few stitches after the game.
Duany hit one free throw to give Wisconsin a 45-41 lead, and the Gophers would not get any closer.
Lewis said Calderwood and Mason deserve credit for their play on both ends of the court.
“Their offense is just as solid as their defense,” Lewis said. “They make you play defense for 25 seconds every time down the court.”


MINNESOTA 27 23 — 50
WISCONSIN 27 34 — 61

MINNESOTA (13-5, 4-4)
Lewis 12-21 3-5 28, Tarver 4-4 0-0 8, Przybilla 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 4-15 2-2 10, Nathaniel 0-3 0-0 0, Sinville 0-0 0-0 0, Ohnstad 0-4 0-0 0, Stanford 0-0 0-0 0, Broxsie 1-2 0-0 2, Sanden 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-51 3-4 50.

WISCONSIN (19-3, 7-2)
Kowske 2-5 0-0 4, Vershaw 4-8 0-0 8, Mason 4-15 5-7 16, Calderwood 6-14 6-7 18, Kelley 0-11-2 1, Duany 1-2 1-2 4, Bryant 3-4 0-0 6, Linton 1-1 0-0 2, Wills 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 21-51 15-20.

3-point goals — Minnesota 3-10 (Lewis 3-5, Clark 0-3, Ohnstad 0-2), Wisconsin 4-16 (Mason 3-7, Calderwood 0-6, Duany 1-2, Bryant 0-1).
Rebounds — Minnesota 34 (Tarver 13), Wisconsin 29 (Vershaw 8).
Assists — Minnesota 8 (Nathaniel, Broxsie 2), Wisconsin 15 (Vershaw 5).
Blocked shots — Minnesota 4 (Broxsie 4), Wisconsin 4 (Mason 2).
Total fouls — Minnesota 18, Wisconsin 12. A — 17, 046.