Iowa flexed their efficient offense to get their first Big Ten road win, beating Minnesota 86-77. Both teams struggled to shoot from three throughout the game, but Iowa scored 86 points on 23 assists by running offense and getting easy baskets.
The win for Fran McCaffrey moved him past Dr. Tom Davis to become Iowa’s all-time winningest head coach.
Josh Dix led the way for Iowa with a career-high 21 points. The sophomore guard came into the game averaging 5.7 points per game and took advantage of open opportunities to propel his team to the win.
For Minnesota, it was an ugly night shooting the ball. The second game in a row, the Gophers really struggled from three going just 5/29. This after going 4/20 at Indiana in their previous game. While the long-range shots were not falling, Minnesota did not capitalize by pounding the ball into their big men. Dawson Garcia did lead the team with 30 points tonight, but Iowa dominated points in the paint 56-38.
Elijah Hawkins scored just 1 point and fouled out but also managed to contribute 9 assists and 5 rebounds.
The game started with Minnesota going on a 10-1 run with several early Hawkeye turnovers and a couple Josh Ola-Joseph dunks. But from that point, the Iowa offense was patient, efficient and moved the ball to get easy baskets as they slowly came back and eventually extended a lead.
In the second half, Minnesota was able to close the gap to 5 points a couple of times, but every Minnesota run seemed to be stymied by a well-timed Iowa backcut for a layup. The missed threes were frustrating, the lapses on defense were frustrating and the missed opportunity to beat an Iowa team that has not been very good on the road adds to the frustration.
The Gophers head to Michigan State on Thursday for a matchup with the Spartans.