Gophers End Losing Streak, Rout Iowa

The struggling Gophers hit the road on Sunday to take on their neighbors to the south, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa came into the game with some confidence after taking Wisconsin to overtime earlier this week. Despite a strong start in favor of the hometown Hawkeyes, Minnesota rebounded quickly, dominating Iowa in the second half en route to a 62-45 victory.

Both teams started the game slowly, neither making a basket for the first three minutes of the game. Iowa set the tone for the game by missing three shots from behind the arc in this time span.

Rodney Williams eventually broke the tie with a jumper with 16:52 left in the first. After two more baskets by Minnesota, Iowa took control. The Hawkeyes played solid defense and hit some big shots from deep to take the lead by a score of 14-6.

The Gophers remained calm and were spurred by Rodney Williams — who made three straight buckets, including a rebound and putback on his own free throw attempt. The Gophers took the lead at 19-17 thanks to the play of Maverick Ahanmisi who had a very nice game off the bench. Minnesota rattled off 11 more points before halftime to put them ahead 30-20.

Trevor Mbakwe was silent in the first half with only two points but erupted early in the second. Mbakwe opened half with the Gophers' first 10 points, helping to extend the lead to 40-27 in favor of the Maroon and Gold.

Rebounding and more hot shooting from Mbakwe helped grow the lead to 50-30 with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. Throughout the game, and especially in the second half, the Gophers did a good job of passing out of the post when the double team came.

Quick touch passes between the Minnesota bigs provided easy baskets for the road team. Once the Gophers were up by 20, their play became more conservative on the offensive end but still managed to win by a score of 62-45.

Inside the Game

One of the most impressive players of the night was Rodney Williams who had no trouble filling the stat sheet. He ended the contest with 13 points, a team-high seven boards to go with five assists. After being called out by Tubby Smith, Williams responded in a big way for Minnesota.

Trevor Mbakwe's second half was nothing short of extraordinary. He had 22 of his 24 points while making 10 of 11 of free throws — a part of his game he has struggled with all season. As a team, the Gophers also shot well from the line, sinking 16 of their 21 attempts.

Part of the reason for the dominating victory was the poor three-point shooting of the Hawkeyes. As a team, Iowa was just 6-28 (21.4%) from behind the arc. One of the main reasons for this shooting struggle was Matt Gatens who shot 11 times from deep, only making two.

Maverick Ahanmisi provided a nice spark for the Gophers off the bench. In just 11 minutes the freshman had 7 points on 2-for-3 shooting to go with two pretty assists and a steal.

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