IOWA CITY – The Iowa men’s basketball team fell into a huge early hole against the Minnesota Golden Gophers Sunday afternoon, but you’d never know it looking at the final score.
Iowa came back from a 16-point first half deficit and beat Minnesota 72-51 in front of a sold-out and frenzied Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd.
Devyn Marble scored a team-high 15 points, 13 coming in the first half as Iowa climbed back into the game as Minnesota poured it on early. He has reached double-figures in the past three games, scoring a combined 58 points.
At the 12:57 mark in the first half, Iowa trailed 21-5. Iowa outscored Minnesota, 67-30, from there on out.
“It slowed it down a little bit,” Coach Fran McCaffery said of the game once the Gopher built a big early lead. ” And there is plenty of time, so it enabled us to get a bang at 21‑5. Then it’s 23‑8, then it’s 23‑10, and all of a sudden, it’s 23‑15, 23‑17. The crowd got really involved, and we were getting some steals and we were working to get some baskets.
Shooting 48.8 percent from the field, Iowa improves to 16-3 this season when shooting 40 percent or better.
Eric May scored in double-figures for the first time in Big Ten play this season. He also led the team in rebounding, pulling down seven boards.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Hawkeyes: Marble (15), Aaron White (14), Mike Gesell (11), Zach McCabe (10) and May (10).
Gesell had a career-high four steals, all of which came in the first half. Iowa had 12 steals as a team, one off its season-high mark.
Iowa improves to 13-2 at home this season, and to 24-0 when holding opponents to less than 60 points in the past three years.
“I’ve been involved in comebacks like that,” McCaffery said. “Rarely are you down 15 and win by 20. But that got away from them at the end. Didn’t feel like a 20‑point win.”