Gophers second half struggles continue against Iowa

Gophers Gaston Diedhiou and Amir Coffey were out with injuries on Tuesday.

Guard Isaiah Washington looks to drive towards the hoop at Williams Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19.

Jack Rodgers

Guard Isaiah Washington looks to drive towards the hoop at Williams Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19.

Jack Warrick

With seconds to play, guard Isaiah Washington jogged down the court while the rest of his team walked. 

Washington put up a trivial three. The ball hit the back rim and went to an Iowa player, which signaled the end of the game as the Gophers walked off the court in defeat.

The Gophers (14-10, 3-8 Big Ten) dropped further down in the Big Ten rankings Tuesday night, falling 94-80 to the Hawkeyes (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten) at Carver-Hawkeye arena in Iowa City.

The Gophers had been outscored in the second half by 62 points in the six games since Reggie Lynch was suspended, and Tuesday night was no exception to late-game struggles.

Minnesota went into the second half trailing by four points. Iowa shot 61 percent in the second half to outscore the Gophers and finish with a 14-point win.

The Gophers were without Gaston Diedhiou and Amir Coffey on Tuesday. Diedhiou reportedly injured his right ankle in practice, while Coffey, the Gophers third-best scorer, re-injured his shoulder in the last game against Northwestern, the Star Tribune reported.

Guard Nate Mason shot 2-13 from the floor, including 0-6 from beyond the arc. Playing 35 minutes, Mason only scored seven points.

“It’s hard when you’re best player, [Mason], is 2 of 13, and obviously we just were down, but I’m proud of my guys. They’re fighting,” head coach Richard Pitino told reporters. “I’m happy with my guys’ effort. I really am.”

Forward Jordan Murphy led the team with 21 points and 17 boards. Washington and forward Davonte Fitzgerald, not usually in the leaderboards for the Gophers, had season-high scoring performances on Tuesday. Washington had a career-high 15 points with seven assists. Fitzgerald went 4-4 on 3-point shots, which helped him score a season-high 16 points. He also had six rebounds. 

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery earned his 400th victory as a head coach in Tuesday’s game against Minnesota.

The Gophers finished the January schedule with their loss at Iowa. They will stay on the road, heading to No. 24 Michigan (18-6, 7-4 Big Ten), on Saturday.