June 13, 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 glance at Iowa’s 64-62 win at Minnesota on Jan. 4 in Minneapolis. The win was Iowa’s first in Minneapolis in five years. Also, the loss was the Gophers’ first of the season at Williams Arena in 11 games.
“There is no explanation when you get a group of guys that fight like we did,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “There is never a game of perfect — it was not a perfect game, but it was game that we fought, and that’s what you want. When your team fights, you can live with anything that happens from there.”
With 5:07 left in the first half, Minnesota’s Andre Hollins made a layup to put the home team ahead, 32-21. Iowa went on a 10-0 run over the final 3:23 of the first half to close within 32-31 at the break. The victory was Iowa’s first of the season when trailing at intermission.
“At that point, our defensive focus and our intelligence offensively made it a one-point game and (Minnesota) lost all its momentum,” McCaffery said.
“When you’re down 11 in the first half, you have to step up and do something,” Matt Gatens said. “It was a huge momentum-shifter going into halftime. They made a little bit of a run there to start the second half, but we came right back at them and took the lead, and didn’t look back from there.”
Gatens finished with a 7-of-11 shooting effort from the field and led all scorers with 19 points. He also had six rebounds and three assists.
“It’s a huge win for us, two in a row on the road,” Gatens said. “We all know it isn’t easy to win in the Big Ten — they’re all great environments. It was a total team effort out there. When you get the W, you can’t complain too much.”
It marked the first time the Hawkeyes won back-to-back Big Ten road games since the 2006-07 season. That year they won at Michigan (69-62) on Jan. 31 and won at Minnesota (91-78) on Feb. 7.
Minnesota made the first two field goals in the second half, then the Hawkeyes took off. With 17:04 left, Gatens converted a rebound after a miss by Roy Devyn Marble to tie the score at 38. Iowa led the rest of the way, building an eight-point edge when Marble scored off a steal with 58 seconds remaining. The Hawkeyes added one more point — a Marble free throw — and held on. Gopher guard Maverick Ahanmisi misfired on a last-second jump shot.
Gatens wasn’t the only Hawkeye to turn in a big game. Zach McCabe added 12 points and seven rebounds, Aaron White scored 10 points with six rebounds. Marble scored nine points with four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Iowa shot 46 percent from the field for the game and 50 percent (11-of-22) in the second half. The Hawkeyes were not as sharp as usual from the free throw line, but they attempted 24 compared to just 10 by the Gophers.
The Hawkeyes held Minnesota to 17.4 percent shooting from 3-point range (4-of-23). Iowa did an excellent job attacking the basket, attempting 24 free throws compared to only 10 for the Gophers.
Watch the highlights of Iowa’s road win at Minnesota by clicking HERE.
Check back next week as we look back at the seventh-best game.