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Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2015

Gophers get past sloppy Hoosiers

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

By DAVE CAMPBELL

AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Paul Carter's career-high 22 points and a season-high 14 steals by quick-handed Minnesota helped the Gophers hold off the Indiana Hoosiers 62-54 on Tuesday.

Playing without suspended leading scorer Devan Dumes, Indiana (6-17, 1-10 Big Ten) had only four players with a field goal while matching a season most 26 turnovers. Tom Pritchard, second on the Hoosiers in points, fouled out scoreless in the second half.

Devoe Joseph added nine points for Minnesota (19-5, 7-5), which won for just the third time in the last seven games despite committing 19 turnovers of its own.

Verdell Jones led Indiana with 18 points and seven assists, Nick Williams added 15 points and Matt Roth pitched in 11 points. But Jones and Williams were two of four players with five turnovers.

Leading scorer Lawrence Westbrook was limited to four points, all on free throws, and the Gophers went only 3-for-13 from 3-point range. But it was enough on this night against the struggling Hoosiers.

With Michigan State pulling comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack in this better-than-expected Big Ten, Minnesota is in a group of, probably, five teams fighting for position off of the NCAA tournament bubble. Victories over Louisville, Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois look good on the Gophers' dossier, but a home defeat here would have been costly.

Minnesota's had an on-again, off-again relationship with the national rankings, and a rough time on the road last week -- featuring losses to the Spartans and Buckeyes -- pushed them out of The Associated Press Top 25.

The Gophers too often have been letting their opponents dictate the style and pace of the game, and their half-court offense has had no rhythm and yielded little production in recent weeks. They're relying almost solely on that aggressive "ball line" defense coach Tubby Smith teaches, turning errant and lazy passes into quick steals and layups or dunks on the other end.

Well, the Hoosiers gave them plenty of opportunities to do that.

They made only one of seven shots taken outside the lane in the first half and missed five of 10 attempts in the paint, frequently losing possession before they could even get the ball up. Malik Story's 3-pointer pulled Indiana within 14-12, but Minnesota led by seven at the break.

The Gophers couldn't get anything to fall in the early minutes of the second half, though, and suddenly the Hoosiers -- who've had a humbling, frustrating first season under coach Tom Crean as they cleanse the once-proud program following the infamous recruiting scandal -- were threatening to pull away.

Roth, who made nine 3-pointers in a game two weeks ago against Ohio State, swished back-to-back shots from behind the arc to complete a 16-6 run and give Indiana its only lead.

It lasted little more than 30 seconds.

Carter made a layup to put Minnesota back in front, and Al Nolen turned a backcourt steal into a fastbreak dunk. After another Hoosiers turnover, Carter put the crowd in a roar by grabbing a lob pass from Damian Johnson and rattling the rim with a dunk of his own to make it 41-34 midway through the half. Jamal Abu-Shamala followed with a 3-pointer soon after.

Former Gophers guard and NBA veteran Trent Tucker became the fifth player in the program's history to have his number retired in a halftime ceremony. Lou Hudson, Mychal Thompson, Kevin McHale and Jim Brewer are the others.



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