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Associated Press, Published February 17 2013

Iowa overcomes early deficit to rout Gophers

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Down by 16 points just seven minutes into play, Iowa’s slim NCAA tournament hopes appeared set to vanish.

The Hawkeyes responded with one of the most brilliant stretches of play in the program’s history.

Devyn Marble and Aaron White each had 15 points as Iowa shrugged off an early 21-5 deficit and rolled past Minnesota 72-51 on Sunday for its third straight win.

Freshman Mike Gesell added 11 for the Hawkeyes (17-9, 6-7 Big Ten), who’ve rattled off three consecutive Big Ten victories for the first time in six years.

“They were on the road and they jumped us,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “Our team could have wilted right there. But we haven’t shown that we’re going to do that.”

Iowa outscored Minnesota 37-10 in a 20-minute stretch spanning the halves, using a zone defense to stymie the Gophers and pull ahead 42-31 with 15 minutes, 14 second left.

Eric May’s 3 with 8:50 left made it 53-37 Iowa, and a game that started off as a Minnesota rout became a Hawkeyes blowout.

Austin Hollins had 14 points for the Gophers (18-8, 6-7), who’ve lost three of four and are now tied with Iowa in the league standings.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen such a dramatic turnaround in such a short time as a coach of any team that I’ve had,” said Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, who has been coaching college ball since 1979. “That’s about as disappointing of a loss as I’ve ever had.”

Hawkeyes fans sensed this one would have major postseason ramifications. Carver-Hawkeye Arena was sold out for just the third time this season after Iowa beat Northwestern and Penn State to keep afloat in the brutal Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes played about as poorly as they could for the first seven minutes.

Iowa could have hardly played any better for the last 33.

The Gophers had a double-digit lead by the 14-minute mark, as Trevor Mbakwe spun free for a layup and an 18-5 lead. Iowa then fouled Austin Hollins behind the 3-point line, and Minnesota’s lead stretched to 21-5 midway through the first half.

“The funny thing about the game was, we’re down 21-5 but kind of the whole time, I’m thinking that we’re still going to come back and win the game,” White said. “That’s why we came back and executed so well.”

MINNESOTA (18-8): Mbakwe 4-8 5-10 13, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, An. Hollins 1-8 0-0 3, Coleman 3-8 0-0 6, Au. Hollins 4-7 5-5 14, Welch 0-2 0-0 0, Osenieks 1-5 1-2 3, Ahanmisi 2-3 0-1 5, Walker 1-4 1-2 3, Ingram 0-0 0-0 0, Eliason 1-2 2-3 4. Totals 17-47 14-23 51.

IOWA (17-9): Basabe 2-3 0-0 4, Marble 3-9 7-8 15, White 4-6 7-9 15, Woodbury 2-3 0-2 4, Gesell 5-10 0-0 11, Olaseni 0-0 0-0 0, Oglesby 0-0 0-0 0, Clemmons 0-2 0-0 0, Rickert 0-0 0-0 0, Denning 0-0 0-0 0, McCabe 1-4 7-7 10, Ingram 0-0 1-2 1, May 3-5 3-3 10, Stokes 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-43 25-31 72.

Halftime: Iowa 34-29. 3-Point Goals: Minnesota 3-14 (Au. Hollins 1-2, Ahanmisi 1-2, An. Hollins 1-5, Eliason 0-1, Coleman 0-1, Welch 0-1, Osenieks 0-2), Iowa 5-9 (Marble 2-4, Gesell 1-1, May 1-1, McCabe 1-3). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 31 (Mbakwe 6), Iowa 30 (May 7). Assists: Minnesota 11 (Eliason 4), Iowa 9 (Marble, White 2). Total Fouls: Minnesota 19, Iowa 18. A: 15,400.