Minnesota withstands Iowa comeback, wins 101-89 in double-overtime thriller
More Big Ten men’s hoops
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Jordan Murphy scored a career-high 25 points with 19 rebounds, Nate Mason had 25 points and seven assists and Minnesota outlasted Iowa 100-89 in double overtime on Wednesday night.
Playing an extra period for the fourth time in Big Ten play this season, the Gophers (17-7, 5-6) stopped a three-game winning streak for the Hawkeyes (14-11, 6-6) with a season-high 14 blocked shots and a tireless effort down the stretch.
Peter Jok had 26 of his 28 points after halftime for Iowa, which stormed back from a 14-point deficit early in the second half. Isaiah Moss added 19 points.
Akeem Springs scored 17 points for Minnesota, which hit the 100-point mark for the first time since Dec. 27, 2014, against UNC Wilmington.
Scoring the first five points in the first overtime wasn’t enough for the Gophers, so they built a much bigger lead in the second one. Amir Coffey’s jump shot, steal, fast break and layup for a 90-87 lead in a dizzying sequence was the last spark they needed. After Jordan Bohannon missed a 3-pointer, Murphy threw down a dunk to send the crowd into deafening mode.
The Gophers took an 11-point to their locker room at the intermission, well aware of the first-half leads they’ve squandered this season in losses to Michigan State (15 points), at Penn State (14 points) and to Maryland (12 points).
Sure enough, after Murphy’s second straight layup put Minnesota in front 56-43, Jok, the conference’s leading scorer, awoke with 10 points toward a 14-0 burst over a mere 2 1/2 minutes to tighten up the game for good. His 3-pointer with 1:35 left in regulation gave the Hawkeyes a 75-73 lead.
Springs lost the ball on a drive a little later but got it back for the Gophers on the alternate possession arrow by tying up Brady Ellingson, despite Iowa’s protest of a called timeout. Mason flipped in an off-balance layup with 8.4 seconds remaining to tie the game again.
With Ahmad Wagner, Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook ranging from 235 to 253 pounds inside, the Hawkeyes used their thickness to harass the Gophers into more than their share of missed layups and putbacks in the first half.
Minnesota made amends with outside sharpshooting and sprinted to intermission on an 18-5 spurt. Springs hit an NBA-range 3-pointer off a press-breaking pass from Mason for a 31-24 lead, before Coffey started a fast break by stealing the ball from Moss and finished with a no-look bounce pass to Mason for the layup.
The Hawkeyes were out of sorts by then. They missed four shots in the paint on their final possession of the half, one blocked by Murphy, whose tip-in at the buzzer gave the Gophers a 40-29 edge. Coach Fran McCaffrey stormed over to scream at Moss for lackadaisical defense.
Minnesota held a moment of silence after a brief highlight video including on-air audio clips for former radio announcer Ray Christensen, who died at age 92 on Sunday. Christensen, a 1949 graduate of the university, began calling football games in 1951 and basketball in 1956 until retiring in 2001.
Iowa: No matter how many quality opponents the Hawkeyes faced before Christmas, five nonconference losses put their NCAA Tournament bid in a big hole. Back-to-back road games against Maryland and Wisconsin still looming on the schedule will make a big finish difficult. This, then, was a win they really needed.
Minnesota: Chasing an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in Pitino’s four seasons, the Gophers have the building blocks in place for a bid if they can finish February strong. They badly need Murphy and Lynch, for all of their prowess around the rim, to stay out of foul trouble. They both fouled out of this one.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes travel to Michigan State for a game on Saturday, before consecutive home games against Illinois and Indiana.
Minnesota: The Gophers play at last-place Rutgers on Saturday, before returning home to face Indiana and Michigan next week.