The Iowa Hawkeyes rode hot first-half shooting from Josh Oglesby and a 53-point second half to a 94-73 win over Minnesota Sunday. The Hawkeyes move to 15-3 on the season and 4-1 in the Big Ten with the win. Minnesota falls to 14-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
Iowa, which was in action for the first time since last weekend's upset win at Ohio State, initially looked like a team that had spent the last week reading about its upset win over Ohio State. Early foul trouble sent Aaron White to the bench, and sluggish shooting combined with sloppy defending allowed Minnesota to build a ten-point lead with 1:13 left in the first half. Fran McCaffery erupted, yelling at his team to wake up and kicking the scoring table, and the Hawkeyes responded. A driving layup by Mike Gesell cut the lead to eight, and a pair of late Josh Oglesby three-point shots made it a two-point game at the break despite a combined one point from Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White.
Iowa's top two scorers were not going to be held down all afternoon, and took over in the second half. Marble started the scoring explosion, scoring nine points in the first three minutes of the second half as Iowa took the lead back. White, who played just six minutes in the first half, then scored two additional baskets to extend Iowa's lead to six points. A Gabe Olaseni free throw gave Iowa a four-point lead with 15:20 to play; Minnesota would never again get within a possession of the lead. Minnesota's front line, exhausted by 30 minutes against Iowa's wave of forwards, finally gave way, and White picked up repeated fouls at the same time that Minnesota's shooting finally went sour. At the 6:18 mark, it was still a six-point game; four minutes later, Iowa's lead was 17.
White finished with a team-high 18 points, all in the second half. Marble scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half. Three other Hawkeyes ended the game in double figures: Oglesby finished with 17 points on 5/7 from behind the arc, Mike Gesell scored 11 with a team-high five assists, and Gabe Olaseni scored 12 and hauled in seven boards. Iowa shot 49.2 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. White's 10/11 performance at the free throw line kept Iowa's shooting percentage at the charity stripe over 70 percent. The Hawkeyes outrebounded the Gophers 40-33, forced three more turnovers than they conceded, and rebounded 40 percent of their missed shots. All of those things spell victory in any circumstance, but at home against a Minnesota team simply overwhelmed by Iowa's depth, it meant a fairly comfortable win.
Iowa sits 14th in the AP Poll this week. This Sunday's win, combined with losses by No. 13 Kentucky, No. 12 Baylor, No. 11 Ohio State, No. 9 Oklahoma State, and No. 8 Iowa State should move the Hawkeyes into the national Top 10. We'll hold off on celebratory music until it's confirmed, but for today, welcome back to the Top 10, Iowa. We missed you.