8:00 PM ET, February 23, 2005
Vincent Grier scored 17 points and Robinson added 14 points, all in the second half, to lead the Gophers (18-9, 8-6) a step closer to their first NCAA Tournament berth in head coach Dan Monson's six years at Minnesota."It's not about the tournament right now," said Monson, clearly taking nothing for granted. "What do we have, eight wins? 8-8 is not going to get you in."The Gophers close the regular season with games at Purdue and Penn State. A strong showing down the stretch and in the Big Ten tournament should put Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament, but a loss to Iowa would have all but assured a spot in the NIT. While that would have meant more home games for the Gophers, seniors Hagen, Robinson and Brent Lawson would be happy never to see their home crowd again."Any time you can end (your career) by making your chances better to get to the NCAAs -- where we haven't been since I got here -- I'll take it," said Robinson, who hit four 3-pointers as the Gophers outscored Iowa 26-7 over a 10-minute span in the second half to pull away."It ended the way we wanted," Hagen said. "The three of us were diving on the floor, doing the dirty work."The Gophers shot only 35 percent from the floor but 20 offensive rebounds, including 11 by Hagen, led to numerous second-chance baskets."We had no answer for Hagen down low," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "He was a nightmare for our guys. ... All their seniors stepped up big -- Lawson defensively and Hagen and Robinson on offense."Adam Haluska led Iowa (16-10, 4-9) with 19 points, and Jeff Horner added 11 for the Hawkeyes, who have lost five of six since leading scorer Pierre Pierce was kicked off the team because of ongoing legal problems.Trailing by a point at the break, Minnesota opened the second half with two straight put-back baskets by Hagen, but Iowa got four straight baskets by Mike Henderson and Haluska to take a five-point lead.That's when Robinson went to work. He broke the streak with a 3-pointer, then fed Vincent Grier for an alley-oop dunk to tie the game at 36. Robinson then hit Lawson for a fast-break layup and after a timeout, Robinson and Grier hit back-to-back threes for a 13-0 run."We just had to get the energy and momentum headed to our side," Robinson said. "The first half was kind of ugly but Coach (Monson) said to just hang in there because we were only down one. Once we got the crowd into it we changed the whole momentum."Jeff Horner ended Minnesota's run with a 3-pointer, but Robinson answered with another three on the next possession, giving Minnesota an eight-point lead with 10 minutes to play.The Gophers pushed the lead to 10 with a possession indicative of their dominance on the boards. Lawson tracked down two missed shots by his teammates, and on Minnesota's third chance, Grier drained a 17-foot jumper."It seemed like they wanted it more," Iowa center Erek Hanson said. "That's usually what rebounding is, want and aggression."Minnesota's lead grew to as much as 14 before Iowa cut it to six in the final minute, thanks to the Gophers missing the front ends of three straight one-and-ones. But J'son Stamper and Robinson combined to go 6-for-6 from the line to help the Gophers hang onto the victory.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-56 (.411)||23-65 (.354)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-16 (.125)||6-18 (.333)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-13 (.692)||13-18 (.722)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|