No Moe pressure
Gopher loves when the game is on the line
By Jon Krawczynski
MINNEAPOLIS -- Maurice Hargrow wasn't nervous when he strode to the free throw line with the game tied and 7.5 seconds to go.
This is what he lives for.
"I felt no pressure," Hargrow said. "That's what you play basketball for. That's why you play sports. I was at home on the line."
Hargrow sank one of two free throws to lift Minnesota to a thrilling 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 go.
But with the Blazers pressing in their usual aggressive style, Demario Eddins fouled Hargrow in the backcourt while trying to make a steal.
After Hargrow made his shot, Johnson raced the length of the floor and had a good look at a leaner just outside the lane, but it glanced off the rim and Vincent Grier grabbed the rebound to preserve the Gophers' fourth straight win.
"It's like they say, 'Close but no cigar,"' UAB coach Mike Anderson said. "I'm very proud of our guys. They had every opportunity, especially in the first half, to fold their tent and they didn't."
Eddins, the Blazers' leading scorer who sat out most of the first half for disciplinary reasons, stood in the lane stunned disbelief, hiding his face in his jersey.
"I'll take the blame for the loss," Anderson said. "I didn't have the right people in at the right time. The game didn't come down to Demario's foul."
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.