Hargrow frustrated; Monson says to be patient

Adam Fink

Minnesota men’s basketball guard Moe Hargrow called Sunday’s game against Furman his most frustrating as a basketball player.

He finished with six points on 2-for-10 shooting. In addition, Hargrow played sparingly in the second half and did not see action in overtime.

On Tuesday, Hargrow met with the Gophers coaching staff to vent his concerns.

“When you are frustrated you don’t always see the big picture,” Hargrow said. “It was not an argument. I just had to get some steam off.”

Coach Dan Monson told Hargrow in the meeting to stay patient and do the other things that can lead to success.

He also reminded Hargrow that he just started playing basketball again in late October after wrist surgery at the end of the summer.

Hargrow said he hopes tonight’s game in Virginia will be his breakout performance.

“He is an integral part of what we are doing,” Monson said. “We know what he can do. I know he is frustrated, especially offensively.”

Although he still averages 10.7 points per game, Hargrow has struggled in the team’s last two outings.

He scored 14 points on 4-for-19 shooting and found himself in the gym more frequently working on his jump shot.

After making a jump of almost 10 points per game from his freshman to sophomore campaigns (3.6 to 13.2), Hargrow said he believes he will get back into his flow soon.

“I just have to forget about the past and move on,” Hargrow said. “I am not fully me yet, but I am getting there.”

Challenge in fifth year

In 1999, the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast conferences came together for the first official preseason contests between teams from the two basketball powers.

Now, the Big Ten/ACC Challenge is in its fifth year, and the annual event has become more than just another tuneup for the conference season.

Heading into tonight’s game against Virginia (3-0), Minnesota (2-1) wants to gauge itself against a high-caliber team and the Big Ten against a conference known for its many national championships.

“I like the game,” Monson said. “To get a quality opponent from another conference is nice. You don’t pick your (opponent), so there is purity.”

Since the ACC only has nine teams and the Big Ten has 11 squads, two Big Ten teams sit out every year. This year, Iowa and Penn State will not participate.

ESPN creates the schedule.

In addition, ESPN and ESPN2 will televise all nine games for the second consecutive year.

“It’s an opportunity for our best to go against their best,” Monson said.

But there are two problems. First, the games’ locations can affect the results.

Second, the entire conference is not represented, whether that is good or bad.

Additionally, the Challenge has been anything but that.

The declared winner of the Challenge (the conference with the most wins) gets the Commissioner’s Cup trophy. But the Big Ten conference has never seen it, going 0-for-4.

The Gophers are one of the teams to fair well in the Challenge, going 3-1 in their four games.

This game means more in the long term for Monson.

Because the Gophers do not play many marquee matchups until the Big Ten season begins Jan. 7, it is an early chance for the nation to see Minnesota.

“This is when you start formulating for NCAA bids,” Monson said. “Those opinions begin to be formulated and, unfortunately, those opinions seem to be reality when it comes to March.”

The game from Virginia’s University Hall begins at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

u Center Jeff Hagen is still listed as doubtful for tonight’s game, Monson said.

Hagen went through a light workout Monday and was sore Tuesday.

The 7-footer suffered a high ankle sprain early last week.