Iowa had 19 first-half points but scored 63 in the second-half in what ultimately ended up being a close game, falling to Minnesota 86-82.
There was a point in this one where Iowa was on pace for 40 turnovers and 10 points. Simply put, you can’t afford to not play stretches of the game.
Honestly, it’s a little shocking Iowa lost by just 4. There was a time in the first half where the Gophers went on a 19-0 run. Yes, Minnesota scored 19 consecutive points. Yes, Iowa scored that many in the first half alone. And somehow Iowa kept it close-ish, thanks in large part to the fact the Hawkeyes went on an 11-0 run of its own immediately afterward.
More than anything, though, this game was a microcosm of all the bad things that plagued Iowa basketball this year. Turnovers? The Hawkeyes coughed it up 12 times (which isn’t actually that much, but consider they had 8 giveaways in the first eight minutes of the game, so kudos for cleaning it up). Poor defense? I’m not going to spill the digital ink. Three-point shooting? Iowa shot 5-18 from range despite a decent 50 percent clip from the floor. Choking away easy points? Iowa shot 9-17 from the charity stripe. Free throws do in fact matter.
There’s also this:
In every single Big Ten road game this year, Iowa has trailed by at least 18 points. That includes games at the other three 3-win teams.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) February 22, 2018
Despite all those things going against Iowa, the most important stat to me is perhaps this: 0. That’s how many points Jordan Bohannon had tonight. When your second-leading scorer lays a goose egg, you’re usually going to have a bad time, especially when your leading scorer has an unspectacular night, as Tyler Cook did with 6 points (he did have 8 boards though).
Give Minnesota credit for shutting down Bohannon and Cook. The Gophers scouted Iowa properly, forcing Iowa to go to Isaiah Moss and Ryan Kriener for points. Luka Garza also had his third-straight double-digit scoring game with 16.
Moss did have a pretty spectacular night. He had about as quiet a 32 points (a career-high) as one can possibly have when you’re shooting 12-18 from the floor, including hitting on 4 of 7 three-point attempts. Kriener’s 15 points were the catalyst for Iowa closing the scoring gap in the second-half; for whatever reason the Gophers just decided to not guard him.
As much as Minnesota stymied Iowa’s offensive stars, the Hawkeyes, meanwhile, allowed the Gophers to do whatever they wanted on the scoring end. Nate Mason had 33 points on Minnesota’s senior night, his second-most on the season after dropping 34 against Nebraska a couple weeks ago. Dupree McBrayer had 16, his third-best scoring effort of the season. Jordan Murphy had 10 points and 10 boards.
The fact of the matter is, these are two bad teams, and Iowa came out looking the baddest. Minnesota snapped its nine-game losing streak against the Hawks. There’s very little you can do when you’re giving up plays like these:
Up next, Iowa has Northwestern at home on Sunday for Iowa’s senior night. It’s not long until we can close the book on this season.