Iowa's finishing moves came from just about everyone against Minnesota

Hawkeyes put Minnesota in a second-half headlock and win, 94-80

IOWA CITY — The Hawkeyes played well enough for their fans to debate what the finishing move was Tuesday night against Minnesota.

Was it the Luka Garza rebound and dish to Jordan Bohannon for a 3-pointer? Was it Cordell Pemsl coming alive with 10 second-half points, including a mess down the stretch? Was it Isaiah Moss’ 3-pointer for a 13-point lead with 4:31 left in the game?

Let’s give the Five-Point-Palm Exploding-Heart-Technique punch to Moss. It doesn’t really matter who you give it to, you’re just happy to be entertaining these thoughts after the Hawkeyes’ 94-80 victory before 10,371 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It’s been that kind of a year.

Bohannon was smiling too much to argue. He actually thought the steal and breakaway dunk Moss put down with 1:28 left for an 87-74 lead was the real dagger.

“That was kind of the signature moment of the game. That sealed it,” Bohannon said. “Anytime you’re out there having fun and have a lead toward the end of the game, things are going to be a lot more fun in the long run.”

So, take this and wear it for a couple of days. Every Hawkeye (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten) seemed to work through some things at the Gophers’ (14-10, 3-8) expense.

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Give Moss the dagger and give Bohannon the game ball. (By the way, they combined for 8 of 14 from the 3-point arc.)

The sophomore guard led the Hawkeyes with 20 points. He didn’t stop there. He also had 10 assists, three steals and went 4 of 4 from the free-throw line, extending his streak of consecutive free throws to 30, four off Chris Street’s record set in 1992-93.

“Phenomenal shooter, we gave him way too much space,” Minnesota Coach Richard Pitino said. “You can’t do that. You can’t give him any space.”

Tyler Cook fought foul trouble in the second half, but did his damage when he was in there, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Moss got the death punch to go along with his 16 points. Garza, Pemsl and Nicholas Baer added 10 apiece.

“It was great to see Isaiah Moss be aggressive, we’re a different team when he plays that way,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said.

McCaffery notched his 400th career victory. He played that down in the postgame, passing credit to everyone else.

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“I always find it interesting to say ‘Fran McCaffrey has 400 wins.’ I don’t have any wins,” McCaffery said. “Iowa has a bunch of wins. Siena has a bunch of wins. Our team won a lot of games. I think the important thing is our players received credit for that.”

Forward Jordan Murphy led the Gophers with 21 points and 17 rebounds.

The moment of truth for this one might’ve come late in the first half. Iowa broke out to a lead, gave it up and then slammed the door. Again, a discussion that hasn’t been there enough for Iowa this season, but Tuesday night was Iowa finishing maybe more than it was Minnesota being a team that’s lost four straight and seven of its last eight.

The best part of the first half was the battle between Cook and Murphy.

Cook dove right in with pair of baskets on inside drives. Murphy didn’t start punching until midway through the half, but when he did get it going, Iowa had its hands full on the inside.

Still, it was a fun matchup because of give and take. Cook finished the half with 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Murphy finished the half with nine points (4 of 7) and 10 rebounds (Iowa had 16 as a team).

“He’s an animal, I have so much respect for that dude,” Cook said. “It’s so much fun, regardless of who it is. When you get to compete and play the game you love against someone you respect, it’s always fun.”

The Hawkeyes held a seven-point lead seven minutes into the game, but it evaporated when the starters left the floor. McCaffery didn’t substitute until the 12:33 mark. When he did, the Gophers punched in and took their first lead on a Murphy dunk, making it 25-24.

Bohannon, Baer and Cook re-entered and stabilized the Hawkeyes, but the mini-run was made complete by freshman Jack Nunge’s 3-pointer and Iowa held a 37-33 halftime lead.

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The Hawkeyes kept that positivity going early in the second half. Isiah Moss started with a 3-pointer. Cook followed that with a dunk off a spin. Garza completed a three-point play with 18:24 left in the game. Moss hit another 3 and the Hawkeyes suddenly had a 47-34 lead.

Of course, the sword dangling over this team’s head is defense. Murphy picked up his third foul on the Garza three-point play, and Pitino left him in the lineup. So, the Gophers were all in at this point.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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