Gophers eke out a victory over Iowa
The Gophers slipped out of Williams Arena with a win over Iowa on Sunday, but it’s clear there is plenty left to do.
After allowing a 12-point first-half lead to dissolve by halftime, No. 23 Minnesota got some late magic from Austin Hollins and held on in the final minutes to top the Hawkeyes, 62-59.
After Iowa’s Roy Marble negated a late Joe Coleman turnover to give the Gophers the ball with 39 seconds remaining, Minnesota – which struggled to get into its offense all game – looked overwhelmed by the Hawkeyes defense, and coach Tubby Smith called a timeout.
When the Gophers came back out, they handed the ball to Austin Hollins – who led the team with 17 points and five rebounds and was the most reliable all day.
Once again, the junior didn’t disappoint, nailing a three-point shot to give the Gophers the 60-59 lead with 14 seconds to go. Minnesota forced a turnover on Iowa’s last opportunity to seal the victory.
But judging from the start, it never should have been so close.
One game after effectively using increased space and movement to blow past Nebraska, the Gophers’ efficiency in the half-court seemed to evaporate on Sunday. They struggled to roll off screens and get inside the Hawkeyes’ zone.
The Gophers jumped out to a quick 14-2 lead in the first, getting good play from their guards, effectively pressing, scoring from all over the field and getting eight of their first 14 points from Austin Hollins.
But four turnovers in a span of 4:24 aided a Hawkeyes 16-5 run to bring them within a point.
While the Gophers got a major impact in the paint from reserve Elliott Eliason – who finished with six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals – their two starting forwards, Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe, were largely absent through the half, and the bench was otherwise unproductive. Iowa trailed 29-28 at the half and took their first lead, 32-31, despite just four combined points from Aaron White and Roy Marble (who finished scoreless, with three rebounds).
As the Gophers started to settle for jump shots, Iowa continued to battle on the other end and getting to the free throw line, but Minnesota was able to hold Iowa scoreless for its last four possessions to set up the win. http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/189...