Hoops team sneaks past Morris Brown

by Sarah Mitchell

Terrance Simmons has watched some pretty disgusting things in his three years with the Minnesota men’s basketball team.
But the senior guard said the Gophers 64-53 defeat of Morris Brown at Williams Arena might have been the most repulsive of all.
“I’m not going to lie,” said Simmons, who tied with Gophers forward Dusty Rychart to lead all scorers with 17 points. “That was the most ugliest win I have ever been a part of in my life and no one is to blame for that. We are all in this together. We all looked bad (Monday).”
Gophers coach Dan Monson echoed Simmons’ thoughts.
“Obviously, I think it was by far our worst performance of the year,” Monson said. “I’ve got to take some blame for it because it’s my job to get the team ready and we weren’t ready to play.”
Minnesota is now 6-1 on the year. But Monday’s game leaves little to celebrate.
The Wolverines airballed four shots. They shot 35.6 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times.
Still, Morris Brown (2-6) was within three at 53-50 with three minutes, 15 seconds left in the game.
“The good thing is nobody’s proud of the win,” Simmons said. “Everybody came in the locker room … nobody really talked. Everybody stayed quiet. We know we played bad.”
The first five minutes of the game did not foretell the rest.
Minnesota made four of its first five shots and found itself up 13-2 after guard Kerwin Fleming hit a three-pointer.
But the Wolverines would not be discouraged.
Despite shooting just 28.6 percent in the first half, Morris Brown was still in the game, down 35-24.
And no words of inspiration in the locker room at the half could turn the game around for the Gophers.
“We came out the second half the way we came out the first half,” Simmons said. “I guess we figured that ‘Hey it’s Morris Brown and we have more talent than them and they’re just going to role over and die and we’re going to win.'”
“I think everybody was taking them lightly.”
Instead of fading away, the Wolverines hung with the Gophers for the rest of the game.
The Wolverines’ Anthony Adams dumped in 11 points while Minneapolis-native Kavon Westberry added five of his 11 in the second half, but it was not enough.
As Morris Brown walked away thinking about what could have been, the Gophers were left with one scary thought:
What if this had been a Big Ten game?
“If this is a Big Ten game we’d have lost by 50 and we’re hanging our heads pretty low,” Rychart said.
The Gophers still have time to prepare for the conference season. A wiser Minnesota team travels to Marquette on Thursday.
“They learned something we’ve been preaching to them since day,” Monson said. “We can play with anybody if we’re mentally ready and execute, but we also can be beaten by anybody if we’re not mentally ready and don’t execute.”
Kerwin Fleming scored three points and two turnovers in 22 minutes in his first start for Minnesota.

Sarah Mitchell covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]