Bauer’s three-point shower leads U to win

by Anthony Maggio

Michael Bauer has hit big three-pointers before. Wednesday night, he hit three of them.

With Minnesota’s men’s basketball team tied at 60 with Iowa on Wednesday night, Bauer hit back-to-back threes, followed by a fade-away three in the corner to lift the Gophers to a 77-64 victory.

“He won the game in the last four minutes,” Iowa coach Steve Alford said.

Bauer, who had four points with four minutes to play, competed with four fouls for the final 9:48.

By the final buzzer, Bauer posted 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Bauer’s 11 points in the final minutes carried the Gophers’ 20-6 run to end the contest.

“I was frustrated with not getting any open looks the whole game,” Bauer said. “Then (Kevin) Burleson and (Maurice) Hargrow got me open on two threes and I was wide open Ö and those are the kind of shots you’ve got to hit.”

The 13,878 at Williams Arena must have been emotionally drained by the end of the game.

Before Bauer took over with 3:30 left, momentum seemed to shift with every possession, as neither team could maintain a run. The crowd went from loud to quiet to loud again at a frenzied pace.

“That was the closest 13-point game I’ve ever been involved in,” Gophers coach Dan Monson said.

With just under ten minutes to play, the Minnesota faithful went wild when Rick Rickert hit a three from the corner on a broken play to tie the game at 50.

Rickert’s shot sparked an 8-0 run, fueling the Gophers’ fire and giving them a 55-50 advantage.

But momentum wouldn’t hold for long.

Iowa (12-8, 4-5 Big Ten) stormed back to regain the lead at 58-57, but that would be the final advantage for the Hawkeyes.

Minnesota (14-7, 6-4) started its 20-6 run with a Burleson three out of a timeout.

Burleson would hit four clutch free throws in the final stretch, and Hargrow’s dunk with under a minute to play put an exclamation point on Minnesota’s second straight victory.

As important as Bauer was for the Gophers in the final minutes, Hargrow and Burleson were equally critical the rest of the game.

Hargrow hit three of four three-pointers, and all came when Minnesota was in need of a big basket.

And Burleson, who was booed during the Gophers’ contest Saturday against Purdue, played one of his best games of the season, leading the team in assists (nine), and tied for the lead in rebounds (seven).

“The guy that everybody likes to blame when we don’t do things was there when we were doing things,” Monson said. “Nobody had more to do with this (win) than Kevin did.”

Burleson was more emotional Wednesday night as he was coping with the death of his grandmother, Pearl Major, who passed away on Sunday.

“It was heavy in my heart,” Burleson said. “I just wanted to get this win for her and play well.”

With Burleson’s help, Minnesota out-rebounded its opponent (36-31) for the fourth time in six games. Five Gophers finished with at least five rebounds.

Hargrow led Minnesota with 17 points, Rickert finished with 16, and Holman chipped in 12.

The Gophers are fifth in the conference and two games behind league leading Purdue. Minnesota has a week off before traveling to Northwestern next Wednesday.

Anthony Maggio covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]