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Iowa holds off Minnesota, wins 2nd straight Big Ten game


This news story was published on January 5, 2012.
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Scott Dochterman, CR Gazette –

MINNEAPOLIS – There are easier ways to win a Big Ten road basketball game, but Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery will take the victory, no matter how ugly it looked.

Despite missing six consecutive free throws in the last 40 seconds, Iowa held off a late Minnesota charge to win its second straight league game 64-62 Wednesday night at Williams Arena. It was the first time Iowa had won back-to-back Big Ten road games since 2006-07. The win also marked Iowa’s first winning Big Ten record at any point since that season.

“Good thing we were up by enough points at that point,” McCaffery said. “We kept our composure enough to get the W.”

Iowa (10-6, 2-1 Big Ten) led by seven points at 64-57 when Iowa guard Devyn Marble hit one of two free throws. Gophers guard Andre Hollins hit a 3-pointer seven seconds later to cut Iowa’s lead to four.

Less than a second later, Iowa guard Matt Gatens missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the ball back to Minnesota. After a missed shot from Minnesota’s Rodney Williams, Iowa’s Aaron White was fouled with 17.5 seconds left. White missed both free throws, giving the ball back to Minnesota.

Minnesota’s Ralph Sampson III scored a layup with 8 seconds left to cut Iowa’s lead to 64-62. Marble was fouled on the inbound pass, but once again missed two free throws to give the Gophers one more chance. Guard Maverick Ahanmisi drove to the basket but his shot caromed off the glass as the buzzer sounded to preserve Iowa’s victory.

“I was just hoping we didn’t foul him,” McCaffery said.

Iowa limped to an 11-point deficit with less than 4 minutes left in the first half, but finished with a 10-0 run to trail Minnesota just 32-31 at the break tonight at Williams Arena.

Gatens, who led the Hawkeyes with 19 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, followed by a key steal by Devon Archie and a White layup to provide the halftime margin.

The Gophers hit 14 of their first 21 shots, and an Andre Hollins layup with 5:06 left in the half gave Minnesota a 32-21 lead. Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery called timeout, and the Hawkeyes regrouped.

Two possessions later, Iowa sophomore Zach McCabe sank two free throws to cut Iowa’s deficit to nine. After a pair of Iowa turnovers, the Hawkeyes got back on track with Gatens’ 3-pointers.

Minnesota (12-4, 0-3) tried to run the clock down on its final first-half possession, but Archie snagged the ball from Hollins along the sideline and tossed to White, who scored with two seconds left in the half.

Minnesota missed its last five shots of the half but still shot 53.8 percent. Iowa sank 43 percent of its shots.

The Gophers scored on three straight possessions early in the second half to take a 38-34 lead. But Iowa battled back, scoring on five straight of its own,on a 10-0 run. Twice Devyn Marble had steals near the top of the key and both led to baskets in the paint.

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