MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team held off a late Minnesota run to defeat the Golden Gophers, 81-71, on Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena. The road victory brings the Hawkeyes to 3-3 in Big Ten play and 13-4 on the season.
The Hawkeyes looked dominant throughout most of Sunday’s contest, seizing a 43-27 advantage at halftime and leading Minnesota by as many as 23 points in the second half. The Gophers battled back, as Minnesota’s Jamison Battle drilled a step back 3-pointer with eight minutes remaining to cut the Iowa lead to 13.
Battle would drain four 3-pointers in the second half, the last of which brought the margin to three with 90 seconds remaining. Sophomore Keegan Murray provided the answer with trey on the following possession, giving the Hawkeyes a 77-71 lead with under a minute to play. Iowa scored the final seven points to close out a 10-point road win.
Murray led the game with 25 points and was one of two Hawkeyes to post a double-double. The nation’s leading scorer racked up 10 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals, while shooting 11-of-17 from the field (.627).
Senior Filip Rebraca posted 12 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double in an Iowa uniform. Rebraca also recorded three steals, two blocks, and an assist. The Sombor, Serbia, native dominated down low early, scoring 10 points of his points in the first half.
Redshirt sophomore Patrick McCaffery finished with 12 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal to match Rebraca as Iowa’s second-leading scorer. Junior Joe Toussaint recorded eight points and had seven assists in 12 minutes of action, while sophomores Tony Perkins and Kris Murray each had five points on the game.
Iowa outpaced the Gophers, 40-31, on the boards, scoring 17 points off second-chance opportunities compared to just one such score for Minnesota. The Hawkeye defense came up with 10 steals and five blocks.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“I think we got a little tentative. You know, they got some momentum. [Jamison Battle] got hot, which he has a tendency to do. We fumbled it out of bounds the one time and they got the and-one. I mean, things started snowballing a little bit, but we got the stops we needed. We didn’t attack the zone well, I thought that was fairly obvious. We’re usually pretty good at that. We didn’t get it to the high post, we didn’t get it to the baseline, we didn’t drive the zone, stuff that you want to do. We were just kind of settling for jump shots. But, you know, Patrick [McCaffery] made a big hoop, Filip [Rebraca] made a big hoop, and obviously I coached [Keegan Murray] up on that last shot…
[Murray] is a confident guy. We have confidence in him as a staff. His teammates have confidence in him. To him it’s just no big deal, it’s just how I play. He doesn’t hunt shots. We did run some stuff for him today, but he still gets 25 in a variety of different ways. He is special.”
- The Hawkeyes have won six of their last seven games. Today was Iowa’s second true road victory of the season (Virginia).
- The nation’s leading scorer, Keegan Murray registered his fourth double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Hehas tallied 20+ points 12 times, including six of the last seven games, and 25+ points an NCAA-best nine times this season.
- Senior transfer Filip Rebraca had his first double-double as a Hawkeye (12 points and 12 rebounds).
- The Hawkeyes had 10 steals, combining for a total of 25 in their last two victories (15 versus Indiana).
- Iowa outscored the Gophers 52-32 in the paint today.
Iowa (13-4, 3-3) returns to action on Wednesday at Rutgers (10-6, 4-2). Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (CT) at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, New Jersey.