MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey wasn't all that upset after his team's second straight loss, a first for the Hawkeyes this season.
Minnesota simply had the shooting touch, and there wasn't much the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes could do about that. But when tournament time comes next month, they're going to have to defend better than they did against the Gophers.
Austin Hollins scored a career-high 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting, DeAndre Mathieu had 19 points and seven assists and Minnesota bounced back from a monthlong slump with a 95-89 victory Tuesday night.
After managing just 54, 49 and 46 points in each of their last three games, the Gophers snapped to life with a 51-point first half. Rebooting their NCAA tournament bid, they posted their season-high score while shooting 30 for 49 from the field (61.2 percent). The Gophers haven't had this many points in a non-overtime conference game since 1995, and this was their highest score in any game since 2010.
"They were on fire — I get that — and the crowd got into it and stuff, but you've got to adjust," McCaffrey said.
So did the Hawkeyes take that performance personally or just tip their metaphorical cap to the rival Gophers?
"I would say both, I think," senior star Roy Devyn Marble said. "They came out and shot the ball well, but at the same time our defense wasn't what it needed to be."
Hollins made all seven of his free throws for the Gophers (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten), who won for just the third time in their last nine games by making 13 of their last 14 free throws over the final 70 seconds. Charles Buggs came off the end of the bench to score a career-high 13 points.
"We can blame our defense if we want to, but at some point you have to respect your opponent and say, 'You know what? Richard had a good game plan. They executed it. They moved it. They got open, and they made the shots. More power to 'em,'" McCaffrey said.