IOWA CITY, Iowa – A strong second half propelled the University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 71-59 victory over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Area.
A halfcourt buzzer-beater gave the Gophers a 38-34 advantage heading into halftime, but the second half would belong to the Hawkeyes.
The Iowa defense held Minnesota to 7-of-30 (.233) shooting in the second half, allowing just 21 points in the final 20 minutes. Iowa blocked six shots and had seven steals on the day, helping secure the regular season sweep of the Gophers.
Sophomore Keegan Murray was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points on 9-of-18 (.500) shooting. The Wooden Award late-season Watch List honoree hauled in 15 rebounds to lock up his sixth double-double of the season. Murray also contributed three assists, two blocks, and a steal.
Redshirt sophomore Patrick McCaffery finished with 18 points on 8-of-14 (.573) shooting and hauled in seven rebounds, while sophomore Ahron Ulis posted nine points, five rebounds, and two steals.
The Hawkeyes shot 29-of-65 (.446) from the field on the game, including 16-of-31 (.516) in the second half. Iowa hauled in 38 rebounds and had 12 assists.
QUOTING ACTIVE HEAD COACH BILLY TAYLOR
“I think any time you have a change in your routine it takes an adjustment period. I am not the normal voice that they hear from, so it took a little bit of time for us to get into our rhythm. Not playing our game midweek against Ohio State and coming off a couple losses, we were trying to get things figured out and we just couldn’t seem to get going at first. We talked at halftime about how that 20 minute is over with, we need to come out and play with the required amount of pride defensively, individually guarding the basketball.
Minnesota does a tremendous job of attacking mismatches. They continue to set ball screens and work to try to get the matchups they want. I thought our guys really stepped up to the challenge to guard the basketball. That didn’t put us in as many scramble situations, so there wasn’t as much help and recovery. We were able to contest at the rim when we needed to. Our defense just was really tough. It was tough at the start of the possession, and it was even tougher at the end. We forced shot clock violations and had the urgency that we needed. We were competing individually the whole time.”
- The Hawkeyes completed the season sweep over the Gophers for the second time in three seasons.
- Sophomore Keegan Murray posted his team-leading sixth double-double of the year registering game bests in points (24) and rebounds (15), He has tallied 20+ points a team-best 14 times. The 15 rebounds are the second highest total of his career (21 versus N.C. Central).
- Redshirt sophomore Patrick McCaffery netted a personal-best 18 points and equaled a career best with seven rebounds.
- The Hawkeyes held Minnesota leading-scorer Jamison Battle, who averages 17.8 ppg, to two points.
- Iowa improved to 12-2 at home this season.
Iowa (15-7, 5-6) returns to action on Thursday at Maryland (11-12, 3-9). Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland.