MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 21/17 University of Iowa men’s basketball team scored the final 11 points to rally for a 58-55 victory over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon inside Williams Arena. The win gives the Hawkeyes their first road win since Jan. 14.
“You have to stay the course,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “It was good execution coming down the stretch. That’s what you have to do.”
Iowa trailed 55-47 with 5:25 remaining before Connor McCaffery hit two free throws and a Luka Garza hook shot trimmed the deficit to 55-51 with 4:20 left. Two minutes later, Garza connected on a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 55-54.
Senior Ryan Kriener tied the game at 55 with a free throw with 1:37 remaining and Iowa took its first lead since the 4:25 mark of the first half when senior Bakari Evelyn was fouled just before the shot clock expired and he hit two free throws to put Iowa up 57-55.
Minnesota committed a costly turnover following a timeout when Marcus Carr threw the ball away on a miscommunication between two players. Iowa then milked the clock down under 15 seconds, but couldn’t extend its lead when Garza missed a jumper from the corner.
With six seconds remaining, Minnesota went for the win when Carr attempted a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but it was altered by a Kriener block. Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu was misplaced coming down for the offensive rebound, sending him to the free throw stripe. Oturu missed the front end of the 1-on-1.
Garza led Iowa with 24 points and eight rebounds, making 11-of-21 field goals. Kriener was the only other Hawkeye in double digits, finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Hawkeyes shot 41.1 percent (23-of-56) and went just 4-of-13 from 3-point range. Iowa limited Minnesota to a 35.6 field goal percentage (21-of-59), 28 percent from 3-point range (7-of-25), and the Gophers went 6-of-12 from the free throw stripe.
Oturu led a trio of players in double figures with 15 points, while Carr had 10 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Iowa jumped out to an 8-0 lead and led 10-2 behind 10 straight points from Garza to open the game. Minnesota fought back to take a 22-21 lead at the 4:25 mark of the first half. The Gophers used a 14-0 run to push their lead to 28-21 before taking a 31-26 advantage into the half.
Quoting Head Coach Fran McCaffery
“There was a belief in the huddle in this team that we were going to win this game. Luka said it, he verbalized it one time. There was never any panic. You cannot go on the road, get down eight with five minutes to go and panic or it’s going to go from eight to 13. It went the other way and things changed, momentum shifts and we were a confident group.”
- The Hawkeyes limited Minnesota without a field goal (or point) for the final 5:25 of the game.
- Iowa closed the gape on an 11-0 to win for the first time since 2015 at Williams Arena.
- National Player of the Year candidate Luka Garza scored a game-best 24 points, extending his 20-point streak to 11 straight Big Ten games. The streak of 11 consecutive games is the most by a Hawkeye in 49 years and the most by a Big Ten player in more than 20 seasons.
- Garza’s seventh point of today’s game was point No. 600 this season, becoming just the 12th Hawkeye to eclipse 600 points in a single season.
- Starting guard CJ Fredrick did not play in today’s game due to injury (ankle). Ryan Kriener started his fourth game of the season (Iowa is 3-1 in those games).
- Iowa improved to 13-0 this season when holding opponents to 69 points or less.
Three of Iowa’s next four games will be played in Iowa City beginning Thursday against Ohio State in the only regular season meeting between the two teams. Tipoff is set for 6:01 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available for purchase at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.