Iowa’s 2-3 zone halts Minnesota, gives Hawkeyes 72-51 win

It was a complete 180 turn for Tubby Smith’s squad on Sunday.

From a 16-point advantage early in the first half to a 16-point deficit in the middle of the second half, Minnesota had a roller coaster of a game at Iowa.

Iowa (17-9, 6-7) head coach Fran McCaffery made a simple coaching move in the middle of the first half that forced the 180 turn.  The implementation of a 2-3 zone defense allowed the Hawkeyes to outduel the Gophers, 72-51.

Five players finished with double-double in points for Iowa, including 15 points each from Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White.

After a big comeback against Wisconsin, Minnesota (18-8, 6-7) showed confidence early in the first half against Iowa.  The team sizzled the ball to one another with purpose by utilizing speed and athleticism.

Early three-pointers by Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins along with a few early calls in favor of Minnesota sparked the Gophers to have a 21-5 advantage over Iowa after the first 7:03 of the game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Then, McCaffery changed the game plan with a 2-3 zone.

The change froze Minnesota on offense. Airballs were forced on back-to-back possessions, and the offense continued to go sour from there.

Minnesota only scored 30 points in the final 33 minutes.

The tempo difference on defense allowed the Hawkeyes to focus its effort on offense.  It worked as Iowa shot almost 50 percent from the field and sprouted a huge 16-2 run towards the end of the first half.

The Gophers finished with a 36 percent clip from the field on Sunday.

The loss puts Minnesota in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Big Ten with Iowa and Illinois at a 6-7 conference record.  The Gophers continue its road trip on Wednesday at Ohio State.

Oto Osenieks played a career-high 21 minutes on Sunday. While he turned the ball over on three occasions, Osenieks had three points, four rebounds, and three assists.  Maverick Ahanmisi and Elliott Eliason also played over 15 minutes each.

Rodney Williams finished with zero points after leaving the game at halftime with an apparent injury.

Topics: Basketball, Gophers, Minnesota, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe, Tubby Smith

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