U plays mean game of basket-brawl

by Michael Dougherty

A day after the rumble on the raised floor, Monday night’s game was the talk of campus, as was co-captain Miles Tarver’s post-game analysis of the brawl.
Tarver, who was issued a gag order last year after comparing the free falling Gophers team to the Titanic, has had the duct tape removed from his mouth and is now giving some of the best interviews this side of former Vikings coach, Jerry Burns.
The brouhaha took place in the Gophers’ 98-55 win over the Philippines National Team, with the game not even four minutes old, and was one of the lead stories on ESPN’s SportsCenter. On Tuesday, everyone was telling their version of the events.
The main tragedy of the whole thing, according to Gophers coach Clem Haskins, was innocent bystander-turned-scapegoat Terrance Simmons.
Simmons, Tarver and Andy Seigle of the Philippines National Team were ejected for their parts in the altercation.
But after watching replays of the fight it was clear Simmons was obviously misidentified by referees when they were deciding who needed to be tossed.
“I don’t know how he got ejected from the ball game when he wasn’t even close to the pile,” Haskins said of Simmons.
Meanwhile, Simmons said he was shocked to see a brawl in an exhibition game, and made sure to emphasize he was wrongly accused.
When asked what he and Tarver did in the locker room after the ejections, Simmons said they talked about the fight then watched the rest of the game.
Ironically, the entire team is a big fan of professional wrestling, and Simmons was asked if Tarver and he were really watching wrestling instead of the game.
“No,” Simmons said. “We recorded wrestling, though.”
Although Simmons was innocent, seniors Kevin Clark and Quincy Lewis threw some good punches during the fight, but Haskins dismissed the fracas as part of the game.
“It’s amazing,” Haskins said. “In hockey they teach people to fight and they’re just brutal. “And in basketball you get in a little fight and everybody gets all upset. We don’t teach fighting. We’re not a dirty team, we’re an aggressive team, and in sports those things happen.
“All of these knocks on my head, over the years people put them on my head when I was playing in college. I wasn’t born with them.”
Let’s get unphysical
With all of the attention from the exhibition game concentrated on the brawl, the game action took a back seat.
Haskins said his team “made leaps and bounds” over the past week, adding they “improved so much.”
Sophomore guard Mitch Ohnstad, from Faribault, Minn., played quick, aggressive ball and made a sweet behind-the-back bounce pass to Joel Przybilla on a fast break, which led to a Przybilla dunk.
Ohnstad scored seven points in 21 minutes, and also had seven assists and played some smothering defense.
Przybilla, meanwhile, scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds, but his four assists were clearly the most impressive part of his game.
“He’s the finest passer, next to Courtney James, that I have ever had,” Haskins said of Przybilla.
Williams Arena, a.k.a. The Barn, has been the home of Gophers basketball for 71 years now. And thanks to a 12-for-27 night from the free throw line, Williams hasn’t been witness to so many bricks being laid since the building was renovated in 1994.
When asked whether his team will be practicing free throws this week, Haskins said, “We’ll be doing a lot of things this week. We’re not ready to win a national championship the way we played tonight.”