The Box Score: Iowa-Minnesota Edition


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The Box Score is a weekly segment in which a Daily Iowan basketball reporter uses statistics to contextualize the Iowa men’s basketball team’s performance over the course of the season.

In what was by far Iowa’s ugliest loss of the season, Minnesota, led by Austin Hollins’ 27 points, dispatched the Hawkeyes, 95-89, pushing Iowa to just 8-6 in conference play.

Iowa’s defense was clearly not up to task Tuesday night, leaving many wondering if this team is as much of a lock for the NCAA Tournament as was once thought.

Minnesota — 9-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half

Iowa shot the ball just fine before the break — as shown by its 50 percent mark from the field and 47 points — but it was no match for the Gophers’ long-range fire.

Senior guard Austin Hollins was 4-of-4 from deep, and reserve forward Charles Buggs matched his teammate’s percentage, going 3-of-3 from behind the arc before halftime.

A 4-point halftime deficit in light of Minnesota’s great shooting should have boded well for Iowa, seeing as the Gophers’ 82-percent conversion rate was extremely unsustainable — they shot 2-of-8 from 3-point range in the second half.

But Minnesota still managed to score 44 points in the second half, which was more than enough to give Iowa its first two-game losing streak of the season.

Iowa’s bench — 9 points

Gabriel Olaseni and Zach McCabe were the only Hawkeye reserves to crack double digits in minutes played, with 19 and 12. But the bench collectively logged 50 minutes — which is 25 percent of the 200 head coach Fran McCaffery is allowed to play with — and scored just over 10 percent of the team’s total points.

Iowa’s depth was, coming into the season and for much of the nonconference slate, an asset the Black and Gold could rely on. But inconsistent performances from centers Adam Woodbury and Olaseni, along with Melsahn Basabe’s absence, has allowed opponents to exploit Iowa despite its significant advantage in capable bodies.

Minnesota — season high 95 points

If you were to quickly glance at this box score, you’d assume it went longer than the standard, 40-minute regulation that the NCAA chooses to employ. But if you were to make that level-headed assumption, you’d be wrong.

The Gophers’ 95 points was both a season high for them and the most Iowa has allowed, and the Hawkeyes have gone to overtime on three separate occasions this season.

Iowa’s failure to contest shots, in addition to a lights out performance by Minnesota in the first half, was what led to the Gophers’ inflated total.

What has to be even more disturbing for McCaffery is that Minnesota’s final field goal was an Andre Hollins 3-pointer at the 8:30 mark of the second half, which gave the Gophers an 80-67 lead. 

Iowa gave up 15 points from that point on — all came from the free-throw line — meaning it took Minnesota just over 31 minutes to put up 80 points on Iowa’s uninspired defense.

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