Murphy posts double-double in Gophers loss at Iowa
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Don’t look now, but the Hawkeyes are inching toward respectability in the Big Ten — at least at home.
Jordan Bohannon led six Iowa players in double figures with 20 points and the Hawkeyes rolled past Minnesota 94-80 on Tuesday night, its second straight win in Iowa City by double digits.
Tyler Cook scored 17 points with 10 rebounds and Isaiah Moss had an encouraging 16 points on four 3s for the Hawkeyes (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten), who’ve split their last six league games after starting 0-5 in the conference.
“It’s great to see Isaiah Moss be aggressive. We’re a different team when he’s playing that way,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who picked up his 400th career win.
Iowa opened the game on an 11-1 run before it resorted to its typical shoddy defense, allowing Minnesota (14-10, 3-8) to jump back out front late in the first half. But Iowa rallied with a 13-4 run to open up a 50-37 lead.
The Gophers tried to keep pace, but the Hawkeyes caught fire from beyond 3-point range — at one point hitting five out of six in the second half to go up 70-58.
“We were and have been connected on offense…we were better defensively, but we need to be even better than we were (Tuesday),” McCaffery said.
Jordan Murphy had 21 points and 17 rebounds and Davonte Fitzgerald scored 16 for Minnesota. But Nate Mason was a ghastly 2 of 13 from the field, and Gophers sophomore guard Amir Coffey (14 points per game) sat out after tweaking his injured right shoulder in a loss to Northwestern last week.
“It’s hard when you’re best player is 2 of 13, and obviously we just were down. But I’m proud of my guys. They’re fighting,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “I’m happy with my guys’ effort. I really am.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Minnesota: The Gophers had their moments against one of the worst defenses among Power Five teams. But it was their own defense that lacked against Iowa, which shot 12 of 25 on 3s and 55 percent overall.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes have begun to get some traction as the league season drags on. It’s far too late for them to actually push for an upper-division finish, but it’s a good sign heading into 2018-19 — and this season started being about next season weeks ago.
Nicholas Baer, Luka Garza and Cordell Pemsl all scored 10 points for Iowa, which turned it over just eight times and got 10 assists out of Bohannon. … Isaiah Washington had 15 points — on 15 shots — for the Gophers. They hung around in part by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. But Minnesota was also just 7 of 25 on 3s.
Minnesota threw a late, brief scare into Iowa, pulling to within 70-66 before it fouled Garza. He hit his first and missed his second free throw, but he grabbed the ball back and found Bohannon for a 3. Bohannon followed up with a breakaway layup to push Iowa’s lead back to 10 — and Moss drilled a subsequent 3 for an 81-68 edge with just over four minutes left.
HE SAID IT
“We gave him way too much space. You can’t do that. You can’t give him any space,” Pitino said of Bohannon, who was 4 of 8 on 3s.
The Gophers play at No. 24 Michigan on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes travel to Penn State on Saturday.