MINNEAPOLIS -- Bakari Evelyn canned two tie-breaking free throws with 1:15 left and No. 21 Iowa held Minnesota scoreless for the final 5:25, rallying for a 58-55 Big Ten Conference win on Sunday, Feb. 16, in Minneapolis.
The Hawkeyes (18-8, 9-6) trailed 55-47 after Payton Willis drilled a 3-pointer. But coach Fran McCaffery called a timeout and Iowa clamped down defensively, forcing five turnovers in six possessions. That included an errant pass with 40 seconds left by Golden Gophers point guard Marcus Carr to coach Richard Pitino.
Minnesota could have tied the game with 3.8 seconds left, but center Daniel Oturu missed the front end of a one-and-one. Connor McCaffery rebounded, drew a foul and hit the second of a two-shot foul with 2.9 ticks on the clock. Carr's desperation 3-pointer from beyond midcourt didn't come close as the horn sounded.
Hawkeyes center Luka Garza won the battle of big men with Oturu, firing in a game-high 24 points and grabbing eight rebounds before fouling out. Oturu finished with 15 points and six boards to pace the Gophers.
Ryan Kriener added 10 points and seven rebounds for Iowa, while Minnesota (12-12, 6-8) got 12 points from Gabe Kalscheur and 10 from Carr.
Iowa got Garza going immediately. He scored the game's first four baskets with a jump hook, a jumper and a pair of layups to give the Hawkeyes an 8-0 lead less than 2 1/2 minutes into the game. At the first TV timeout, Iowa led 10-2 with Garza scoring all the points.
But Minnesota found the antidote for Garza -- fouls. He picked up his second at the 5:58 mark for setting an illegal screen and sat out for the half's remainder. Without him, the Hawkeyes' offense more or less ground to a halt.
The Golden Gophers took advantage with Garza out. Their 14-0 run was capped by a four-point play on which Carr hit a jumper while Oturu was fouled -- Oturu then made two free throws -- gave them a 28-21 lead with 2:21 remaining. They took a 31-26 lead to halftime.