Feb. 1, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team rallied from a 10 point second half deficit to down Minnesota, 63-59, Wednesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We didn’t panic when we got down 10,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We whittle away at it and there was plenty of time. We made the plays we had to make out of the stretch.”
The Hawkeyes appeared to be dead in the water midway through the second half, as the Golden Gophers built a 45-35 advantage with 12:21 to play. The Hawkeyes responded with 16-5 run to take a 51-50 lead on a pair of Melsahn Basabe free throws with 5:12 remaining.
Each time Iowa grabbed the momentum, Minnesota had an answer. Julian Welch’s long ball at the 4:43 mark gave the Gophers a 53-51 advantage, a deep 3-pointer by Austin Hollins made the score 56-53 with 4:03 remaining and Oto Osenieks’ long ball with 3:24 left put Minnesota up 59-54.
From there, the Hawkeyes took over. Roy Devyn Marble nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to make it a two point game. On the next possession, Marble had a one-handed slam over 6-foot-11 center Ralph Sampson III to tie the game at 59.
“As soon as I saw the lane, I knew I was going to do that,” said Marble, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. “They were blocking my shot in the first half, and I was getting upset, so I said `I am going to do this and see how it goes’ and it was positive.
“I don’t go on the top floor too often, but I had a business meeting tonight, and I took care of business.”
Iowa got a stop on the next possession when Bryce Cartwright knocked the ball loose from Sampson before driving the length of the floor and drawing the foul. He made both free throws — after missing his previous two attempts at the 2:59 mark — to make the score 61-59.
With a six second differential in the game and shot clock, Marble delivered again to seal the game. With the shot clock winding down, Marble drove to the basket, avoided Sampson and dumped it to a wide-open Gatens to send Carver-Hawkeye Arena into a frenzy.
“I knew I was going to get it to Matt, I just had to find a way how,” said Marble. “I kind of had to dive and get it around the big man, but I knew I had enough time.”
“Devyn played great, he made big baskets for us,” said sophomore Zach McCabe, who grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. “He played really good all game and when we needed him the most he was there.”
Gatens paced the Hawkeyes with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Iowa shot 37.5 percent (21-of-56) from the floor and out rebounded the Gophers, 39-35, which included 16 offensive rebounds.
“They really hung in there and got the win, one that we thought we had the game at hand,” said Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith. “They made some clutch plays down the stretch and we didn’t. It was a good win for them and a tough loss for us.”
Iowa opened the game strong defensively, limiting the Gophers to 1-of-8 shooting over the first eight minutes and forcing nine turnovers. A Basabe steal and coast-to-coast dunk gave Iowa a 13-3 lead at the 11:33 mark and forced a Minnesota timeout.
After the Hawkeyes stretched their lead to 15-3 on a pair of Aaron White free throws, Minnesota began fighting back. Five straight points by Sampson III made the score 17-8 at the 9:27 mark, and a Austin Hollins triple cut the margin to 18-14 with 7:56 to go in the half.
Minnesota fought back to even the game at 24 on a Rodney Williams 3-pointer with 2:07 to go in the half and another Hollins trey have the Gophers their first lead, 27-24 — a lead they took into the break. Iowa couldn’t buy a basket late in the half, missing 16-of-its-final-20 attempts.
The win completed Iowa’s first season sweep over Minnesota since the 2007 season. The victory improves the Hawkeyes’ record to 12-11 overall and 4-6 in Big Ten play. The Gophers fall to 16-7 overall and 4-6 in conference play.
“It’s a big step for us to beat a team of this caliber twice, a team that is that athletic and has been playing that well,” said McCaffery. “So now for us, the challenge continues.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday afternoon, hosting Penn State at 2 p.m. (CT).