June 6, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Our countdown of the 10 top Iowa men’s basketball games from 2011-12 continues today with a look back the Hawkeyes’ thrilling, 63-59, win over Minnesota in Iowa City on Feb. 1. This come-from-behind victory lands at No. 9 on our countdown.
Iowa used two second-half 9-0 runs, including one to end the game, to rally and upend the Golden Gophers for the second time in as many months. Iowa’s two wins over Minnesota marked the first time the Hawkeyes swept the Gophers in the same season since 2007.
“We didn’t panic when we got down 10,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We whittled 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.
A 3-pointer by Oto Osenieks, with 3:24 left, put Minnesota in front 59-54. From there, the Hawkeyes took over. Roy Devyn Marble nailed a triple 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. “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.
Iowa scored in transition and had a high number of high percentage shots en route to victory. The Hawkeyes outscored Minnesota 15-0 in fast break points and 30-10 in paint points.
“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.”
Watch the highlights of Iowa’s home triumph over Minnesota by clicking HERE.
Check back next week as we look back at the eighth-best game.