Feb. 13, 2011
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By RICHIE ZAWISTOWSKI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team came into Sunday’s contest against Minnesota just four points shy of a three-game win streak in Big Ten play. Iowa fell in overtime 62-59 to Wisconsin the game prior, after winning two straight Big Ten games.
Early on against Minnesota (17-8 overall, 6-7 Big Ten Conference) it looked like the Hawkeyes (10-15, 3-10) would get back into the win-column behind the raucous support of 12,759 fans.
However Minnesota’s size up front proved too much for Iowa, as the Hawkeyes fell 62-45 in a game that saw Iowa get out-rebounded 38-25, and shoot just 21-percent (6-of-28) from beyond the arc.
UI guard Bryce Cartwright led the game with seven assists, to go along with his team-high 11 points — the only Hawkeye in double-figures.
“They’re so big and strong, obviously we were struggling more-so at the offensive end,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “Maybe we gave up a few too many offensive rebounds, but they’re big and strong, but I think our problems today were more at the offensive end.”
Both teams struggled early on in putting the ball in the basket. Three 3:10 went by before a Minnesota layup broke the drought with a basket.
Iowa used an 8-0 run after to jump out to an early 14-6 lead. Cartwright fed a no-look alley-oop to Jarryd Cole who laid the ball in for an 8-6 Hawkeye lead.
The Iowa defense did its part too, helping with the early advantage. Andrew Brommer swatted a Minnesota dunk attempt from behind, which ignited a fast break. Cartwright found Gatens on the wing, who buried another 3-pointer, making the score 11-6 with 12:35 left in the half.
Iowa’s defense forced Minnesota into consecutive traveling violations, and four turnovers over the next two minutes.
However with Iowa up 14-6 with 10 minutes remaining, the Minnesota defense took the game over. Minnesota’s 2-3 zone defense with its tall frontcourt was too much for Iowa. Minnesota went on a 17-3 run over the next 8 minutes, and held Iowa to just one field goal in the final six minutes of the half. Minnesota went into the halftime break leading by 10, 30-20.
“We anticipated seeing a lot of zone with the big lineup,” said McCaffery. “He (Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith) tends to go back to the man with the small lineup, but we were struggling offensively so he stayed in with the big-small lineup. We knew we were going to see it. We worked on it. It didn’t look like it but we worked on it.”
The second half proved to be no different for Iowa. The smallest margin Iowa could cut the lead was nine points, coming after a Cole free throw with two minutes gone by in the second half.
The size of Minnesota combined with its zone efforts on defense forced Iowa to shoot several 3-pointers. On some nights, the ball does not find the bottom of the basket.
“We wanted to space and get some jump-shot opportunities that were clean looks. We normally wouldn’t take 28 3’s. We took 28 three’s because they were in zone. With a few exceptions I thought we had some open looks.”
In the end the shots didn’t fall, and the and Iowa lost its second consecutive Big Ten contest after winning its previous two before.
Iowa travels to Northwestern next as it takes on the Wildcats on Feb. 17. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:05 p.m.
|Minnesota 62, Iowa 45||1st||2nd||Final|
|Points: Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota) 24 | Bryce Cartwright (Iowa) 11|
|Rebounds: Rodney Williams (Minnesota) 7 | Jarryd Cole (Iowa) 8|
|Assists: Rodney Williams (Minnesota) 5 | Bryce Cartwright (Iowa) 7|