Backcourt leads Minnesota

Adam Boone and Maurice Hargrow led the Gophers in scoring in Minnesota’s 67-45 win over Chattanooga.

C.J. Spang

With star senior guard Vincent Grier out because of a hand injury, Minnesota’s men’s basketball team needed someone to pick up the slack in Saturday’s game against Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Senior guards Adam Boone and Maurice Hargrow did just that, and nearly outscored the entire Chattanooga team in the Gophers’ 67-46 victory.

Boone notched his second career double-double and first at Minnesota with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while dishing out five assists in 40 minutes of play.

Hargrow tied a career high with 24 points and added seven assists in 37 minutes of play.

“I think (Hagrow) and I are going to have to show leadership on offense,” Boone said. “So hopefully while Grier is out we’ll be able to step it up and produce good results.”

But the results dropped off after the backcourt.

Freshman guard Jamal Abu-Shamala scored a career-high eight points, sophomore forward Dan Coleman had six points on 1-6 shooting and J’son Stamper added five points and eight rebounds.

“I think it’s always nice as a coach if you can spread it around and have everyone get equal minutes and equal shots,” coach Dan Monson said. “But this is college basketball and it’s about winning.”

But Monson said he doesn’t expect everyone to go out and score.

“It’s like going to a potluck dinner,” Monson said. “Everybody needs to bring their best dish to the potluck and we got guys that are starting to figure out what they can cook.”

And a handful of Gophers spent plenty of time in the kitchen as four players notched career highs in minutes played Saturday.

Abu-Shamala played 23, freshman guard Brandon Smith played 16 in his first career start, freshman center Jonathan Williams played 13 and senior Stamper played 29.

That stamina and versatility will be crucial for Minnesota as they try to replace Grier, who averaged 36 minutes per contest last season.

The other major success for the Gophers on Saturday was their rebounding.

In the team’s season-opener against North Dakota State, Minnesota was outrebounded 34-30 ” a bad sign going into the game against the Moccasins, who were second in the NCAA in rebounding last season.

“We watched the North Dakota State game and they were terrible on the glass,” Chattanooga coach John Shulman said. “We thought that was one area we could succeed in.”

But after spending the entire week harping on rebounding, according to Monson, the Gophers whipped the Moccasins on the boards, 45-27.

That’s one more positive to build off of going into today’s 7 p.m. game against Gardner-Webb at Williams Arena.

The Bulldogs (1-2) were pummeled in their last game against Auburn, but pushed North Carolina to the brink in an 83-80 loss to the Tar Heels.

“When they’re shooting the ball well from the perimeter, I think they can play with anybody in the country,” Monson said. “And if not, then they can probably lose to anybody in the country.”