Minnesota 59

(15-13, 5-11 Big Ten)

Michigan 55

(18-10, 8-8 Big Ten)

2:30 PM ET, March 9, 2006

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

1 2 T
MINN 23 3659
MICH 27 2855

Top Performers

Minnesota: M. Hargrow 15 Pts, 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Michigan: D. Horton 14 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

Minnesota deals Michigan NCAA blow

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota tried to hand Michigan a win on Thursday, but the Wolverines refused to take it.

Now, Michigan might be refused an NCAA Tournament bid.

Minnesota made just 5 of 12 free throws in the final minute of its first-round Big Ten tournament game with the Wolverines, but the Golden Gophers held on for a 59-55 win.

Michigan (18-10) is considered on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament slot. The Wolverines entered the game ranked 37th in the Ratings Percentage Index, making them a possible at-large entry. Michigan has lost seven of its last nine games, a problem since the tournament selection committee traditionally weighs recent history heavily.

"We don't necessarily know," said Michigan forward Graham Brown. "We're not in any committees, we're not on any boards who make that kind of decision. We're preparing for the best. If we get the opportunity to do so, we're going to have to regroup and get ready to go. We have a chance."

Maurice Hargrow led Minnesota (15-13) with 15 points and Zach Puchtel added a career-high 15 rebounds. Vincent Grier scored all 11 of his points in the second half as the Golden Gophers advanced to play Iowa in a quarterfinal on Friday.

Dion Harris led Michigan with 16 points and Daniel Horton added 14.

Michigan coach Tommy Amaker was unhappy with the effort, especially considering what was on the line.

"I'm certainly disappointed in us," he said. "We have not played a good stretch of basketball as of late. It was a winnable game for both teams, the way the game was structured possession by possession."

Michigan had defeated the Golden Gophers handily twice this season, but the Wolverines shot 37.5 percent on Thursday.

Michigan jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led 20-12 midway through the first half. The Golden Gophers cut into the margin and trailed 27-23 at halftime. Minnesota had 12 turnovers at the break, but Michigan didn't capitalize.

"We knew we had to come out and withstand that first blow," said Puchtel, a senior walk-on. "And not only withstand it, but to punch back. A big focus of ours was to come out strong."

Grier, Minnesota's leading scorer, didn't score until 15:30 remained in the game. His first bucket tied the game at 31.

Minnesota took its first lead on two Hargrow free throws with 14:45 left to put the Golden Gophers up 33-31. Minnesota increased its lead to 47-38 on a dunk by Dan Coleman, and the Golden Gophers never trailed again.

Minnesota coach Dan Monson said the Golden Gophers did the things necessary when a star struggles to score: other players picked up the scoring load and the team played strong defense.

"Other players have to be able to help your guys who have been there all year," he said. "I don't think we played particularly great offensively, but it was one of our better defensive efforts."

Minnesota outrebounded Michigan 37-35 and forced 21 turnovers.

"I'm just proud of the effort, and I think it's indicated by the fight they had for rebounds," Monson said. "They're (Michigan) so athletic and big inside."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 59 55
FG Made-Attempted 21-51 (.412) 21-56 (.375)
3P Made-Attempted 2-10 (.200) 4-22 (.182)
FT Made-Attempted 15-28 (.536) 9-13 (.692)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 24 (0/0)
Largest Lead 10 8

2005-06 Season

Jan 21, 2006 MICH 71, @MINN 55Recap
Feb 15, 2006 @MICH 72, MINN 50Recap
» Mar 9, 2006 MINN 59, @MICH 55Recap