MINNEAPOLIS >> After watching Hawaii tear up the nets for the first two-thirds of last night's National Invitation Tournament game, Minnesota's defense rose up to snuff the Rainbows' hopes of advancing to the tournament's quarterfinals.
Defense key for Gophers
By Jason Kaneshiro
The Golden Gophers overcame a nine-point deficit to take the lead with 10:46 left in the game and assumed control thanks in part to the defense of forward Michael Bauer and guard Maurice Hargrow.
Bauer blocked shots on back-to-back Hawaii possessions and Hargrow added a third. Hargrow then converted on the offensive end with two 3-pointers and two free throws to give the Gophers separation from the Rainbows en route to their 84-70 victory.
"(Bauer) and Jerry (Holman) are always our energy guys," Hargrow said. "The big blocks they get starts our break. If we can get that going and get some easy baskets that just feeds everything."
Minnesota coach Dan Monson praised Hargrow after the game, not only for his 22 points, but also for his defense on UH guard Carl English.
English shot the ball well and finished with 19 points, but Hargrow kept Hawaii's leading scorer from being the decisive factor.
"Mo had a huge game," Monson said. "English probably got his average, but he didn't have the kind of game that would beat you."
The Gophers also got an unexpected boost from guard Ben Johnson. The junior reserve averaged 5.8 points per game entering last night's contest, but hit eight of nine field-goal attempts and finished with 18 points.
"He hit some shots we didn't think he was capable of hitting," English said. "When we were doing the scouting report he wasn't supposed to be a shooter, he was more power inside. But he gave them a great lift."
Record for English: English's 3-pointer 15 seconds into last night's game gave him the school record for treys in a season.
The junior made three 3-point goals in the contest, giving him a total of 89 for the season. He entered the game tied with Trevor Ruffin (1993-94) at 86.
English is still mum on whether he'll be back at UH next season or will enter the NBA Draft.
End of the Rainbow: Last night's game closed the careers of three Hawaii seniors.
Rainbow point guard Mark Campbell logged six assists to finish the season with 192, the third-highest single-season total in UH history. He ended his career with 343 assists, good for seventh on the school's all-time list.
Fourth-year seniors Ryne Holliday and Lance Takaki also ended their tenure as Rainbows last night.
Homeward bound: Hawaii is set to return to Honolulu this afternoon aboard Northwest flight 928. The flight is scheduled to land at Honolulu International Airport at 4:34 p.m.
Hawaii's Nkeruwem Akpan and Minnesota's Michael Bauer tried to track down a loose ball before it went out of bounds last night in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers won 84-70.