Minnesota 69, UAB 68
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Maurice Hargrow made one of two free throws with 7.5 seconds to play to lift Minnesota to a 69-68 victory over UAB on Wednesday night.
Hargrow, who had missed three straight games with a high ankle sprain he suffered against Maryland on Nov. 30, led Minnesota with 20 points, the final one capping a wild final two minutes.
The Gophers (6-2) led by five points with 34 seconds to play before Squeaky Johnson and Marvett McDonald hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 68 with 10.6 seconds to play.
With the Blazers pressing in their usual aggressive style, Demario Eddins fouled Hargrow in the backcourt while trying to make a steal.
That sent Hargrow to the line, where the senior made things exciting by missing the first one before sinking the second.
With no timeouts, Johnson raced the length of the floor and had a good look at a short jumper, but it glanced off the rim and Vincent Grier grabbed the rebound to preserve the win.
Eddins, the Blazers’ leading scorer who sat out most of the first half for disciplinary reasons, stood in the lane stunned disbelief with his jersey pulled over his head.
Johnson had a career-high 15 points and six assists and Eddins had 11 points and five assists for the Blazers (4-3).
Adam Boone scored 14 of his 15 points in the first half and Dan Coleman scored all 11 of his points in the second half for the Gophers, who took advantage of Eddins’ absence to take a 16-point lead in the first half before nearly letting it slip away in the closing seconds.
Eddins, who was averaging nearly 16 points a game, missed the team bus from UAB to the airport, so coach Mike Anderson sat him down for nearly the entire opening period.
The Blazers clearly missed their primary scoring option, shooting just 32 percent in the opening half to fall behind by 11 points.
Their shooting woes also limited the Blazers, who have led the nation in steals for the past three seasons, from setting up their frenetic, full-court trapping defense.
With Eddins watching from the bench, UAB went scoreless for nearly five minutes.
The Gophers took advantage, going on a 10-0 run highlighted by two driving layups by Grier and a pair of jumpers from Hargrow.
The Gophers made 63 percent of their shots in the first half and 50 percent for the game.
Eddins started the second half and immediately made a difference. He hit two jumpers and opened up the floor for his teammates during an 11-2 run in the first four minutes.