Turn out the Lights

On Friday night the Olympic flame was lit in Salt Lake City in a spectacular ceremony with President George W. Bush in attendance. The moving experience was worth spending Friday night at home. Less than 24 hours later, the Minnesota Golden Gophers extinguished the NCAA Tournament flame of hope in Iowa City. The only thing moving about this experience was going for the doors at Carver-Hawkeye as Minnesota upset the pre-season darling Iowa Hawkeyes, 86-78.

Dandy Don Meredith sang the country song "Turn out the lights, the party's over" on Monday Night Football when the NFL game got out of reach. That song would be appropriate now for the Iowa basketball season. A season that started with so much promise has come crashing down around the hopes and dreams of Hawkeye fans everywhere.

There is no way to sugar coat this loss as it was complete and signals the end of NCAA Tournament hopes. The Hawks must now regroup and plan for the NIT and next season.

You don't give up 86 points on your home court and expect to be winning in the Big Ten.

Minnesota shot 65 percent in the second half to overcome a 9 point halftime deficit. Meanwhile the Hawks shot a horrendous 29 per cent and had only 6 assists to go with a dozen turnovers in the second stanza.

Iowa failed to score a point in 13 of their first 14 possessions in the second half. Meanwhile, Minnesota went on a 20-2 run to seize control.

Luke Recker led the Hawks with 25 points. Duez Henderson added 13 points while Brody Boyd added 10. Reggie Evans had 16 rebounds to go with only 5 points. In the second half, Reggie only took ONE shot.

Certain to be Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Rick Rickert, led the Gophers with 23 points. His court savvy in the second half belied his youthful looks as he took over the game. Rickert made 7 of 10 field goal shots and 8 of 9 free throws to go with 2 blocks and one steal in this pivotal game.

This season has turned into a living nightmare for Iowa Coach Steve Alford. A season with so much promise has erupted onto a firestorm of futility and failure as the Hawks have zero leadership on the court.

Look for the lineup to be drastically different at Penn State on Wednesday night as the Iowa staff has to start preparing for next year.


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