By Don Lund
I thought the Iowa-Minnesota game was going to be a back-and-forth battle and stay close for the whole game.
I was right… for the first half.
The Hawkeyes trailed by 10, 43-33, with 1:13 left in the first half.
Mike Gesell hits a lay up and then Josh Oglesby goes off, draining three straight 3-pointers to cut the lead to 43-41 at half.
What a difference a year makes.
Josh struggled from behind the arc last season and when he broke his foot before the season, there was talk of a redshirt.
Fran McCaffery had no plans to do that and it paid off Sunday.
How about Devyn Marble and Aaron White combining for only one point in the first half?
Not to worry as Josh had 14 points, Mike nine and Gabe Olaseni came off the bench for seven first-half points.
Devyn scored eight of his 16 points in the first three minutes of the second half while Aaron White finished with 18, including 10-11 from the free throw line.
“Devyn never really got on track in the first half,” said coach McCaffery. “In the second half he was aggressive, started hitting jumpers, getting to the basket and playing the way he’s capable of playing.”
Iowa has a way of wearing you down.
The Hawks had five players in double figures, nine players with 10 minutes or more and no Hawkeye played over 31 minutes.
Iowa’s defense also stepped up in the second half.
Minnesota came into the game as the best 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten. The Gophers were 5-8 from the 3-point line in the first half, 0-8 in the second half.
Zach McCabe came off the bench and broke his scoring slump with eight points, including a 3-pointer.
Zach was scoreless (0-8) at Ohio State.
The Hawkeyes are off to their best start in the Big Ten since 1998-99 with a 4-1 record, 15-3 overall.
That 1998-99 team finished 20-10, 9-7 in the Big Ten which was good enough for third in the league.
Tom Davis was in his last season as head coach and the team won their first two games in the NCAA tournament, falling to Connecticut, 78-68. The Huskies won the championship that year.
The Big Ten is one of the best leagues in the country this season and it’s going to be a race to the finish.
Iowa’s depth will come into play the rest of the year.
The good news is if one of the starters is struggling, the bench can fill in. The Hawk bench outscored the Gopher bench 43-18 Sunday.
There were some students missing as not all of them were back from break, but the crowd was loud when they needed to be.