Gardner-Webb pulls stunner at Williams

C.J. Spang

Despite a career night from sophomore center Spencer Tollackson, Minnesota’s men’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker in the final seconds of Monday night’s contest at Williams Arena.

The Gophers lost to Gardner-Webb 73-72 thanks to Bulldogs’ senior guard T.J. McCullough’s three-point play with 3.2 seconds left.

“That last play we called something different,” Gardner-Webb coach Rick Scruggs said. “If you go away from what’s been working and it don’t work, you feel like a fool and you feel like a genius when it works.”

But Minnesota had to work extremely hard to even make a game of it.

After trailing by as much as 14 in the second half, the Gophers started playing at a higher intensity level that had Williams Arena buzzing.

With 1:28 seconds left in the game, senior guard Maurice Hargrow pulled up and hit a fadeaway jumper to tie the game at 70.

After the Bulldogs missed a three, senior forward J’son Stamper gave the Gophers the lead when he made a lay-in in transition with 1:02 remaining.

Stamper was fouled on the play but was unable to convert his free throw.

Then came McCullough’s drive and score and Minnesota was unable to hit a half court buzzer-beater to win the game.

“I thought Gardner-Webb did a great job,” coach Dan Monson said. “When they shoot the ball well, they’re a very good basketball team and today they were a very good basketball team.”

Good shooting might have been an understatement.

The Bulldogs were lights-out from beyond the arc, finishing 12-20 from three-point range.

“I’ve been around for a while, so I’ve seen it all,” Hargrow said. “That’s going to happen. Teams are going to make shots.”

Minnesota, on the other hand, couldn’t make its shots. The Gophers finished 24-64 from the field and a subpar 1-14 from beyond the arc.

Many of those missed shots contributed to 24 offensive boards for Minnesota. The Gophers outrebounded Gardner-Webb 45-24 on the night.

Two players who fared well from the field were Tollackson and Hargrow. They had 21 points apiece to lead all scorers.

Tollackson’s previous career best in points was 12. The sophomore also played a career-high 32 minutes, 12 minutes more than his previous high.

Hargrow got off to a slow start, missing his first five shots of the game. But near the end, the senior guard took over the game, much like injured guard Vincent Grier has been known to do.

In the last seven minutes, Hargrow went 5-5 from the field, including three straight field goals to tie the game at 70.

But in the end, the early hole was too much for the Gophers to burrow out of.

Coleman misses game

Sophomore forward Dan Coleman missed Monday’s game after being called away to a family emergency, the team’s spokesman said, but

the Gophers are optimistic for his return Wednesday at Maryland.