MINNEAPOLIS -- The second-half fade has become a theme for Iowa this season.
So has the resilient win on the road.
Jarrod Uthoff's pull-up jumper with 3.5 seconds left Tuesday lifted Iowa to a 77-75 victory over Minnesota, sealed when Deandre Mathieu's full-court drive for a layup at the buzzer was ruled a split-second late.
"We're kind of a calm bunch. We're not an overly emotional group. We don't typically rattle. We had to fight on those last four minutes," Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffrey said. "I'm really proud of how we did that."
Uthoff had 16 of his career-high 22 points in the second half for the Hawkeyes (12-5, 3-1 Big Ten), who squandered a 17-point lead when the Gophers scored on 15 of 16 possessions. They led 73-69 with 3:11 remaining on a 3-pointer by Joey King, but two front-end misses on one-and-one free-throw opportunities sandwiched around a pair of foul shots by Uthoff with 2:24 left.
The 6-foot-8 transfer from Wisconsin followed with a 3-pointer for a 75-73 lead, and Mathieu answered with the tying reverse layup with 1:39 remaining. But the Hawkeyes got the ball back with 37 seconds left and set up a play for Uthoff, who had a seven-inch height advantage over his defender Andre Hollins when he let the ball go from the elbow of the lane. The Gophers were playing three guards at the time.
"If I would've jumped with him, I would've fouled him because I was literally right on his hip," a subdued Hollins said.
Mathieu was even more distraught in the locker room after his end-to-end race to re-tie the game was waved off, a call affirmed by review. His double clutch as he approached the defense in the lane delayed his release of the ball just long enough to negate the basket.
"Nothing's going our way," Mathieu said.
McCaffrey was preoccupied with concern about Iowa's lax defense on the play.
"It was no good, so I can only say it was no good," the coach said. "Kid made a heck of a play."
Carlos Morris scored 20 points for the Gophers (11-7, 0-5), who have lost four of their five conference games by five points or fewer. "We talk about finishing the job, and the last five games we didn't finish the job," said Nate Mason, who bumped Mathieu from the starting lineup and had 17 points.
The Hawkeyes made seven of their first eight shots and stretched a 38-27 advantage at the break into a 17-point lead before the first television timeout of the second half, before Mason carried Minnesota through the dawn of the comeback with his finest college performance yet. With a 3-pointer and a layup on consecutive possessions, the freshman brought the Gophers within 59-53 to lift the crowd noise to its loudest level to that point.
Mathieu, bumped from his starting spot by Mason, swished a 3-pointer from the corner with a little more than seven minutes remaining to cut the deficit to 65-64 and got a jarring bear hug from coach Richard Pitino right after that. King's 3-pointer with 6:21 left gave the Gophers their first lead of the game at 67-65.
"This is huge for our confidence, huge for our morale," Uthoff said.