Turnaround continues in 73-71 win vs. Iowa

Tim Klobuchar

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Whenever Clem Haskins spoke to his players during a timeout Thursday night, he would have to prop himself up with a wooden cane marred by chipped brown paint, then amble a few feet to where the Gophers huddled, and sit down again.
The cane, necessitated by arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Monday, made Haskins appear like a crotchety old man beckoning the grandkids over to his easy chair so he could tell them stories of how good things used to be.
No one will confuse this team for the Final Four team of 1997, but Thursday night the Gophers played exactly like how they and Haskins remembered last season. If Minnesota’s win against Michigan on Saturday could be dismissed as a fluke because of its incredible shooting, then its 73-71 victory over Iowa has to be considered a signal that this team retained some semblance of that character.
The Gophers (11-12 overall, 4-8 Big Ten) led by as many as 11 in the second half, then weathered severe foul trouble and a Hawkeyes rally that probably would have overtaken them in a matter of time. Given Minnesota’s late-game folds this season and Iowa’s penchant for wearing teams down with its press, that scenario seemed only logical.
It seemed all the more likely after Kyle Galloway (3.7 points per game this season), usually noticeable only because of his fiery red hair and the extra applause he draws from the student section, buried a three-pointer to give Iowa (16-8, 5-6) a 65-64 lead. Not many would have guessed that it would be Iowa’s last.
Galloway had a shot to be the hero with 15 seconds left and Iowa down two, but his wide-open three-point attempt from the right corner went in and out.
“It was a good look,” Galloway said. “I was square. I’d shoot it again.”
Still, the Hawkeyes had one more chance when guard Kevin Clark missed two free throws with 10 seconds left. Three-point specialist Kent McCausland missed a three, Dean Oliver missed a fadeaway jumper, and Minnesota left with a well-executed escape act.
“Guys are really learning their roles now,” said Gophers co-captain Sam Jacobson, who scored 20 points, including a three-point play that gave Minnesota the lead for good. “We’re more relaxed in tough situations because we were in a lot of them in the first half of the season. Now we’re confident and we take our time.”
Minnesota limited Iowa to one shot on almost every possession down the stretch and got key baskets from Kevin Clark, Eric Harris and Jacobson, who combined for 60 points. Jacobson’s hoop with 1:34 remaining was the biggest.
Quincy Lewis, who had a miserable 3-for-14 shooting night, made a nice pass to a cutting Jacobson, who put in the layup and drew a foul from Oliver.
Jacobson converted the three-point play, giving the Gophers a 73-70 lead.
“We didn’t give into the pressure, and we maintained our poise down the stretch,” Haskins said. “When we needed a basket, someone stepped up and made one. It takes a team and players to win the game.”
Early in the second half it looked as though the Gophers might not have enough players to finish the game, let alone win it. Clark, Miles Tarver and Kyle Sanden all picked up their fourth fouls within a three-minute span in the second half, with Sanden getting his with 11:53 to go.
While one could argue that the game was a case study of the Hawkeyes’ continuing decline (six losses in their last seven games), the Gophers would prefer to think of it as another step in their resurgence. They won for the second straight time over a hyped Big Ten opponent — this one on the road, against a team that defeated them by 13 points less than a month ago in Minneapolis.
Haskins pointed out that Jacobson was just coming off a back injury then. Tonight, even though they had foul trouble, the Gophers at least had healthy players on the floor, while one of the Hawkeyes’ stars, forward Ryan Bowen, was hobbled slightly by a knee brace. In fact, the only one on the Gophers who was hurting was Haskins — or so you’d think.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to get up at all,” Haskins said. “But in sports, pain is something you have to play with, and once the game started, I didn’t feel any pain at all.”
Winning a close game for a change instead of losing can be good anesthesia.

THURSDAY’S SUMMARY
Gophers 40 33 — 73
Iowa 37 34 — 71

GOPHERS (11-12)
Jacobson 8-16 3-3 20, Lewis 3-14 2-4 8, Sanden 2-3 0-0 5, Clark 8-12 2-4 21, Harris 7-12 2-3 19, Nathaniel 0-1 0-0 0, Schoenrock 0-0 0-0 0, Broxsie 0-0 0-0 0, Tarver 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 28-58 9-16 73.
IOWA (16-8)
Bowen 2-6 6-9 10, Moore 1-5 0-2 2, Koch 2-4 0-0 4, Oliver 3-10 4-5 12, Davis 6-15 6-9 20, Bauer 0-0 0-0 0, Rucker 1-4 2-2 4, Luehrsmann 0-2 0-0 0, Galloway 2-4 0-0 6, McCausland 5-0 0-0 13. Totals 22-60 18-27 71.
3-Point goals — Minnesota 8-13 (Jacobson 1-2, Lewis 0-1, Sanden 1-1, Clark 3-4, Harris 3-5), Iowa 9-23 (Moore 0-1, Koch 0-1, Oliver 2-4, Davis 2-5, Luehrsmann 0-2, Galloway 2-4, McCausland 3-6). Fouled out — Sanden, Tarver, Davis. Rebounds — Minnesota 33 (Clark, Tarver 7), Iowa 46 (Bowen 14). Assists — Minnesota 13 (Harris 4), Iowa 19 (Bowen, Oliver 4). Total fouls — Minnesota 27, Iowa 19. A-15,500.