After-thoughts from Iowa’s 86-82 loss to Minnesota:
--Say what you want about this Iowa team; it’s entertaining. After scoring 19 points in the first half (a season low in Big Ten games), it scored 63 in the second half, the most by an Iowa team in at least 28 years. They have scored 50 or more in the second half seven times this season and have 120 after halftime in two meetings with Minnesota. The Hawkeyes scored 22 points in the last 96 seconds Wednesday, 19 of those by Isaiah Moss. The sophomore guard had 14 points in 61 seconds at one point.
--Moss seems to barely have a pulse in some games, but he gave a very vivid demonstration of why Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has been so patient with him. He finished with 32 points, seven more than his previous career high, and has now scored 67 points in three career games against Minnesota. If Moss can ever start playing with some level of consistency, he’ll be an All-Big Ten player. That may be a big if, but Wednesday’s effort has to give him a load of confidence.
--While Moss was amazing, his backcourt mate, Jordan Bohannon, was a disappointment. He was thoroughly outplayed by Minnesota senior Nate Mason, who breezed past him several times on the way to easy baskets. McCaffery said after the game that’s why he played Maishe Dailey so much at the point; he felt he would do a better job defensively against Mason, who scored 33 points. Bohannon played only 21 minutes, his second lowest total ever in a Big Ten game, and was held scoreless for only the second time in his career. The only other time he failed to score was last season against Michigan State.
--Just as inexplicable as the Hawkeyes’ amazing finish was their horrible start. They committed eight early turnovers, seven in a span of nine possessions, allowing Minnesota to score 19 straight points and open a 20-point lead. It wasn’t any one player. It was a total team effort. Those eight turnovers were by seven different players. What’s also amazing is they only had four more turnovers the rest of the game.
--Every team plays better at home than on the road, but the disparity continues to be much more pronounced with Iowa than with other teams. It trailed by 17 or more points at some point in all nine of its Big Ten road games this season. It actually won at Illinois — its only road victory of the season — after trailing by 20 points in the first half and it nearly did it again Wednesday. In all, the Hawkeyes have trailed by 20 or more in nine games this season and by 17 or more in 14.
--This really was a prime opportunity for the Hawkeyes to get a road win. They hadn’t played since Saturday afternoon while Minnesota had to play an overtime game on the road Monday night. The Golden Gophers, who had lost nine games in a row, had to be leg weary. But they looked livelier than the Hawkeyes in the first half.
--Besides Moss, another player who had a breakout performance was backup center Ryan Kriener. He only played 14 minutes but scored a career-best 15 points and became the go-to guy in the middle of the second half. He scored all 15 in the second half over a span of about 8½ minutes.
--Minnesota pretty much wrapped up the No. 11 seed in the Big Ten tournament by winning. The only way it doesn’t get it now is if Illinois beats Purdue on Thursday and Rutgers on Sunday. Iowa could still end up with any of the bottom three seeds. If it beats Northwestern on Sunday, it will almost certainly be the No. 12 or 13 seed and would play the winner of that Illinois-Rutgers game. If the Hawkeyes lose to Northwestern, they would be the No. 14 seed and play Minnesota again if Illinois beats Rutgers, or they would be the No. 13 seed and play Rutgers if the Scarlet Knights beat the Illini.