Minnesota 60

(12-4, 2-1 Big Ten)

(24) Iowa 66

(13-3, 1-2 Big Ten)

    2:32 PM ET, January 15, 2005

    Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa

    1 2 T
    MINN 26 3460
    #24IOWA 32 3466

    Top Performers

    Minnesota: J. Hagen 15 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast

    Iowa: G. Brunner 13 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Hawkeyes rely on free throws to secure win

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- A faster start and better defense was just enough to get Iowa its first Big Ten victory.

    Pierre Pierce augmented his 18 points with outstanding defense and Iowa (No 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 24 AP) beat Minnesota 66-60 on Saturday despite going the final 10:45 without a field goal.

    On a day the school's 1980 Final Four team was honored, the Hawkeyes (13-3, 1-2) righted themselves after going through long stretches of sloppy play in their first two conference games and ended Minnesota's 10-game winning streak.

    "I think the big key was we had a lot of energy and enthusiasm," Pierce said. "We really focused on the defensive end, trying to get pressure and have ball pressure. I think that was the key to the game."

    It certainly wasn't the Hawkeyes' offense. They shot only 34.5 percent and missed their final eight shots. But they got by with it because Minnesota (12-4, 2-1) was even worse.

    The Gophers shot just 29 percent (9-for-31) in the first half and 33 percent for the game. They started poorly in both halves, needing almost 5 minutes to make their first basket and going nearly 7½ minutes before getting a field goal in the second half.

    "I think Iowa did a great job disrupting us offensively today," Minnesota coach Dan Monson said. "You just can't go on the road and not start halves better than we did."

    Pierce shut down Minnesota scoring leader Vincent Grier, holding him to one shot and six points. Grier, who spent time on the bench because of foul trouble, had been averaging 17.3 points.

    "I wasn't frustrated," Grier said. "I just had an off night."

    Even with Grier and the Gophers struggling, Iowa couldn't put them away. The Hawkeyes didn't make another field after Jeff Horner's 3-pointer give them a 48-38 lead with 10:45 to play, but hit 18 of 24 free throws to hold on.

    Adam Haluska added 15 points for Iowa, Greg Brunner had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Horner scored 12 points.

    Jeff Hagen, Minnesota's 7-foot, 270-pound center, led the Gophers with 15 points and 12 rebounds and got Iowa's big men in foul trouble. Rico Tucker added 10 points.

    "That's probably our worst shooting performance of the year," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "But I thought we got after them and did a lot of good things to take things away from them. We won because of that. It wasn't because of our shooting."

    Leading by six points at halftime, Iowa outscored Minnesota 13-6 at the start of the second half to open a 45-32 lead.

    Minnesota drew within 54-48 on Hagen's inside basket with 5:20 remaining but got no closer. The Gophers couldn't make the shot they needed to start a run and Iowa kept making its free throws. Haluska was 8-for-10 down the stretch, while Horner was 4-for-4.

    Hurt by slow starts in consecutive losses to Michigan and Ohio State, the Hawkeyes started strong in this one and the impetus came from an unusual source.

    Brunner, just 3-for-13 on 3-pointers coming in, hit two straight from beyond the arc to put Iowa up 6-0 and the Hawkeyes led the rest of the way.

    "Bru really came off right away and gave us a big spark," Haluska said. "We hit some bumps (later), but I thought on the defensive end we did a great job."

    Pierce, who's right-handed, drew a roar from the crowd when he raced up the court on a fast break, dribbled behind his back, spun and banked in a soft layup with his left hand, making it 10-2 less than 4 minutes in.

    Brunner and Pierce had all the points in a 9-0 run that stretched the lead to 29-13 before Minnesota put together its only decent stretch, outscoring the Hawkeyes 13-3 to draw to 32-26 at halftime on Tucker's baseline drive with 5 seconds remaining.

    "We came out kind of flat in the second half," Grier said. "We didn't ever get into a kind of flow like we wanted to, but our defense hung in there. But they came out with a lot more intensity than we did."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 60 66
    FG Made-Attempted 17-51 (.333) 19-55 (.345)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-21 (.286) 5-21 (.238)
    FT Made-Attempted 20-30 (.667) 23-29 (.793)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 16

    2004-05 Season

    » Jan 15, 2005 @IOWA 66, MINN 60Recap
    Feb 23, 2005 @MINN 65, IOWA 57Recap