IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Devyn Marble and Aaron White each had 15 points as Iowa shrugged off an early 16-point deficit and rolled past Minnesota 72-51 on Sunday for its third straight win.
Freshman Mike Gesell added 11 for the Hawkeyes (17-9, 6-7 Big Ten), who’ve rattled off three consecutive Big Ten victories for the first time in six years.
Iowa outscored Minnesota 37-10 in a 20-minute stretch spanning the halves, pulling ahead 42-31 with 15:14 left. Eric May’s 3 with 8:50 left made it 53-37 Iowa, and a game that started off as a Minnesota rout became a Hawkeyes blowout.
Austin Hollins had 14 points for the Gophers (18-8, 6-7), who’ve lost three of four and are now tied with Iowa in the league standings.
Hawkeyes fans sensed this one would have major postseason ramifications. Carver-Hawkeye Arena was sold out for just the third time this season after Iowa beat Northwestern and Penn State to keep afloat in the brutal Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes played about as poorly as they could for the first seven minutes.
Iowa could have hardly played any better for the last 33.
The Gophers had a double-digit lead by the 14-minute mark, as Trevor Mbakwe spun free for a layup and an 18-5 lead. Iowa then fouled Austin Hollins behind the 3-point line, and Minnesota’s lead stretched to 21-5 midway through the first half.
Then the Gophers fell apart.
Minnesota hit just one shot over the next 10 minutes and Iowa, thanks in part to a switch to a zone defense, surged ahead 29-27 on a pair of Marble 3s.
Nothing epitomized Minnesota’s inexplicable collapse more than Mbakwe’s shooting foul on Iowa’s Zach McCabe — well behind the 3-point line, no less — with 1.5 seconds left in the first half.
The Hawkeyes continued to play well to start the second half and Minnesota continued to play poorly.
The Gophers shot an abysmal 32 percent in the second half, allowing the Hawkeyes to outscore them 60-22 during a 30-minute stretch.
Mbakwe had 10 of his 13 points in the first half for the Gophers, who looked nothing like the team that beat 20th-ranked Wisconsin on Thursday night.