MINNEAPOLIS - In a season filled with lopsided losses on the road, the Iowa basketball team saved its worst for last.
The Hawkeyes suffered their worst defeat in 21 seasons in Sunday's Big Ten finale at Minnesota, losing 88-53 at Williams Arena.
The 35-point loss is Iowa's second-worst setback to the Golden Gophers, surpassed only by a 47-10 defeat March 1, 1902, in the first game between the schools, and is the worst beating the Hawkeyes have taken since a 118-71 loss at Indiana on Feb. 17, 1990.
"Minnesota has a good offensive team, and they got to feeling so good offensively, and there wasn't anything we could do to stop them," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said during his Learfield Sports postgame radio interview.
The Golden Gophers were knocking down shots from everywhere.
Minnesota matched a season high with 12 3-pointers and shot 63.2 percent from behind the arc for the game. The Gophers shot 58.5 percent for the game and went 14-of-15 at the foul line.
The Gophers' 88 points were the most allowed by Iowa during the season, topping the previous high of 86 that Minnesota scored in its earlier 12-point win in Iowa City.
"We executed and made shots early that kept the pressure on Iowa," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. "They're a young team, and to come into our house on senior day, that's a tough challenge."
Minnesota was led by seniors Lawrence Westbrook and Damian Johnson.
Westbrook needed 23 minutes to collect 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Johnson finished with 10 points, 11 assists and led the Gophers with three blocks and three steals.
As Smith made substitutions, reserves managed every point of a run of 17 unanswered points that left the Hawkeyes (10-21, 4-14 Big Ten) in a 35-10 hole with 4 minutes, 40 seconds to play in the first half.
Iowa's Jarryd Cole ended a scoring drought of 7:39, hitting a jumper with 3:17 left.
"It was a tough day," Cole said. "We defended well for the first few minutes, but we had a lapse, and they hit us hard."
Minnesota (18-12, 9-9) led 42-20 at the half, and Iowa came no closer than 18 points on a Matt Gatens 3-pointer early in the second half. The Gophers' Devoe Joseph answered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession that fueled another 10-4 run.
"They pushed the lead, and we couldn't do anything to stop them," Cole said. "It was frustrating."
Aaron Fuller led three Hawkeyes in double figures, finishing with 16 points.
- Minnesota's 58.5 percent shooting was the best by an Iowa opponent this season, topping a pair of 53 percent efforts in road losses at Iowa State and Northwestern.
- The Golden Gophers turned 14 Hawkeyes turnovers into 21 points.
- Iowa's 4-14 Big Ten finish is the Hawkeyes' worst since posting an identical record during the 1989-90 season.
- The Hawkeyes open Big Ten tourney play as the ninth seed Thursday, facing eighth-seeded Michigan at 1:30 p.m.