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Minnesota 65, Iowa 57

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Jeff Hagen and Aaron Robinson might never
play at Williams Arena again, and that's just fine with them.

Hagen scored 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and Robinson
keyed a second-half comeback that carried Minnesota to a 65-57
victory over Iowa on Wednesday.

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.