Second-half explosion boosts U

Michael Dougherty

The cardiac kids were at it again Monday night at Williams Arena, as the Gophers basketball team overcame a 14-point half time deficit to beat Oregon (2-1) 72-61.
Trailing 39-25 at the break, Gophers guard Kevin Clark came out of the locker room on fire, scoring 17 points during a 23-8 run to put Minnesota in front for the first time at 48-47.
Clark, who had only six points in the first half, shot down the Ducks from behind the three-point line. He hit five in the second half, outscoring Oregon 25-22 by himself in the on 8-of-9 shooting.
“I got some good looks and I was able to knock them down,” Clark said.
The comeback was the Gophers’ second in less than a week. In Tuesday’s 77-70 win over Seton Hall, forward Quincy Lewis sparked a second-half spurt with a career-high 36 points, bringing Minnesota back from a 16-point first half deficit.
“I think after tonight, I’ll just come out for the second halves of games,” Gophers coach Clem Haskins said.
Clark’s 31 points was a career-high, topping the 30 he scored in last season’s NIT semi-final win against Fresno State — the Gophers’ Friday opponent.
Lewis poured in 16 points, and freshman center Joel Przybilla scored eight points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Oregon opened the game up much like Clark opened up the second half — they couldn’t miss.
Led by guards Terik Brown (14 points) and Alex Scales (11), the Ducks shot 54 percent in the first half, with Brown going 4-for-7 from three-point range.
But thanks to a half-time pep talk Haskins said could not be repeated, Minnesota stepped up its defensive intensity and shut down Brown and Scales, limiting them to just three points after the intermission.
“They tried to pick on me a little more because I had hit a couple of shots in the first half,” Brown said. “Clark hit a couple of shots early (in the second half) and they were energized by the crowd.”
Ducks forward A.D. Smith picked up the scoring and matched Brown with a team-high 17 points. Smith said a white-hot Clark, coupled with the revitalized crowd, took Oregon out of the game.
“In the first half, it was the quietest 14,000 (actually 14,380) I have ever seen,” Smith said. “The crowd was out of it, but when they came back we didn’t handle the noise very well.”
Ducks coach Ernie Kent said Przybilla’s shot-blocking ability and the Gophers’ pressure defense took his team out of its game.
“They changed our shots by putting shot pressure on us,” Kent said. “That’s where the art of shot faking comes in, and they took us out of it.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t even know who was shooting the ball,” Smith said. “Every time I looked up, the ball was going through the net.”

GAME SUMMARY
Oregon 39 22 — 61
Gophers 25 47 — 72

MINNESOTA (4-0)
Lewis 7-16 0-0 16, Tarver 1-6 1-2 3, Przybilla 4-7 0-0 8, Clark 11-17 4-4 31, Nathaniel 0-2 3-6 3, Ohnstad 3-5 0-1 7, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0, Stanford 0-1 0-0 0, Broxsie 0-0 0-0 0, Rychart 1-3 0-0 2, Sanden 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 28-63 8-13 72.
OREGON (2-1)
Smith 7-13 2-2 17, Scales 4-12 1-1 11, Carson 2-10 0-1 4, Wright 0-2 0-0 0, Brown 6-17 0-0 17, Harker 1-1 0-0 2, Rosemond 1-3 0-0 3, Quinine 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 2-6 0-0 5, McShane 1-3 0-0 2, Christoffersen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-67 3-4 61.
3-point goals — Minnesota 8-14 (Clark 5-9, Lewis 2-4, Ohnstad 1-1), Oregon 10-33 (Brown 5-14, Scales 2-6, Smith 1-4, Rosemond 1-3, Jones 1-3, Wright 0-2, McShane 0-1). Rebounds — Minnesota 47 (Przybilla 15), Oregon 34 (Carson 12). Assists — Minnesota 18 (Ohnstad, Clark, Przybilla, Sanden 3), Oregon 15 (McShane 6). Blocked shots — Minnesota 11 (Przybilla 7), Oregon 7 (Scales 5). Total fouls — Minnesota 9, Oregon 14. A — 14,380.