Seton Hall does something in order to defeat Minnesota

Mark Heller

Next time, Dan Monson might want to pause before balking at setting up a nonconference game.
Without giving up one of those now patented 15 to 20-point runs early in the game, Monson and his undermanned Minnesota men’s basketball team went down to the wire against Seton Hall in Continental Arena. If not for some offensive struggles in the last five minutes of the game, Minnesota was primed to pull off the upset.
Instead, a lauded performance by the Gophers (12-12) went for naught in the end. Missed three-pointers by Terrance Simmons and Mitch Ohnstad in the last 10 seconds allowed the Pirates to escape with a 64-61 win.
Despite a 4-for-17 night from the field, Dusty Rychart scored 11 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds. It was Rychart’s first double-double since facing Wisconsin on Feb. 5.
Unfortunately for Rychart, many of those 13 missed shots came at the rejecting hands of Pirates freshman center Samuel Dalembert. The 6-foot-11, 232-pound big man followed up his first career double-double last weekend with his second. He dominated the inside of the Gophers defense for 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks. Seton Hall (19-6) had 15 blocks as a team, but the threat alone diverged several of Minnesota’s shots inside.
Simmons also came up big with 19 points, eight rebounds, and, unlike Saturday’s 0-fer in the Purdue game, six assists.
The rest of the Gophers could not do much better. They couldn’t overcome 34 percent shooting and a 3-for-17 showing from behind the arc.
Still, they scrapped and forced themselves to stay in the game, never trailing by more than eight points. The defense also held Seton Hall’s triple-triple threat of Shaheen Halloway, Rimas Kaukenas and Darius Lane to a combined 6-for-19 from downtown. Halloway still had 10 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Perhaps more importantly, the team showed an unwillingness to lay down, responding in a big way after a 36-point blowout to the Boilermakers. Minnesota faces Iowa on the road Sunday.

Mark Heller covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]