Gophers lose to Iowa, fall to 0-3 in Big Ten

Minnesota shot 4-for-23 from 3-point range while struggling to solve Iowa’s zone defense.

The Minnesota men's basketball team shut down the USC Trojans Saturday afternoon in Williams Arena. The Gophers dominated 55-40.

The Minnesota men’s basketball team shut down the USC Trojans Saturday afternoon in Williams Arena. The Gophers dominated 55-40.

Charlie Armitz

Throughout the early stages of the 2011-12 season, the Gophers have made a living off of halftime adjustments and second-half comebacks.

On Wednesday night, they got a taste of their own medicine in a 64-62 loss to Iowa at Williams Arena — Minnesota’s eighth consecutive loss in conference play.

The Hawkeyes trailed 32-21 late in the first half when they switched to a zone defense that baffled the Gophers the rest of the way. Iowa ended the half on a 10-0 run and continued to dominate Minnesota in the second half on both ends of the floor.

The Gophers shot 4-for-23 from 3-point range in the loss, which dropped them to 0-3 in the Big Ten and 12-4 overall. Head coach Tubby Smith heralded his team as the “best shooting group” he has had at Minnesota early in the season, but the team has failed to justify that billing all season long.

Iowa’s zone defense forced Minnesota to take many contested 3-pointers — a trademark of the zone — but it also led to a series of Gophers turnovers. Minnesota committed 10 turnovers in the last 22 minutes after giving the ball away just twice in the game’s first 18 minutes.

Ten of the Gophers’ 12 turnovers came on steals, which Iowa converted into easy layups on several occasions.

The Hawkeyes had eight fast break points, while the Gophers had 12. Late in the first half, however, Minnesota had a 10-0 edge in transition.

“We got complacent and allowed them to settle into their game,” senior center Ralph Sampson III said.

Sampson had 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, but committed six turnovers and missed his only free throw.

As a team, the Gophers shot 14 fewer free throws (6-for-10) than Iowa (14-for-24).

The Hawkeyes missed their last six free throws, which allowed Minnesota a chance to win the game or send it into overtime on its final possession. But Maverick Ahanmisi couldn’t make a contested layup at the buzzer.

Smith said after the game that he had designed the final play for Welch. But the junior guard, who led Minnesota with 14 points, never touched the ball.

Rodney Williams had 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Gophers.