IOWA CITY | Seemingly everything has been a struggle for the Iowa basketball team this season and getting a milestone victory for head coach Fran McCaffery on Tuesday night was no different.
The Hawkeyes withstood several runs by a shorthanded but determined Minnesota team in the second half before Jordan Bohannon and friends finally delivered the knockout punch in a 94-80 victory over the Golden Gophers, giving McCaffery the 400th victory of his coaching career.
Bohannon finished with 20 points and nine assists, and made several of the key plays that finished off Minnesota in second half. Included were four free throws, pushing his streak of consecutive made foul shots to 30.
The Hawkeyes (12-12 overall, 3-8 Big Ten) also got 17 points from Tyler Cook, 16 from Isaiah Moss and 10 apiece from Nicholas Baer, Luka Garza and and Cordell Pemsl.
Minnesota, playing without Big Ten blocked shot leader Reggie Lynch (suspension) and No. 3 scorer Amir Coffey (shoulder injury), lost for the seventh time in the past eight games and fell to 14-10 overall, 3-8 in the Big Ten.
Forward Jordan Murphy notched his NCAA-leading 20th double-double, finishing with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Davonte Fitzgerald added 17 points and Isaiah Washington 16, both off the bench, but star point guard Nate Mason was held to only seven points and three assists.
The Hawkeyes finally shook off the Gophers in the final six minutes with an 11-2 scoring run that began with a Garza free throw. He missed the second shot but got his own rebound and pitched it to Bohannon for a 3-pointer.
A Pemsl layup off a feed from Bohannon, a Bohannon fast-break layup and a Moss 3 pushed the margin to 81-68.
The Hawkeyes started quickly, as they did in a lopsided home victory over Wisconsin a week ago, bolting out to an 11-1 lead.
The Golden Gophers bounced back against Iowa’s second unit, however, putting together a run of nine straight points to grab a 21-18 lead.
The lead seesawed back and forth for the remainder of the half before a 3-point field goal by freshman Jack Nunge with 51 seconds left in the half gave Iowa a 37-33 halftime lead.
Moss led a charge at the outset of the second half, beginning with a 3-point field goal and a lob pass to Cook for a dunk. Another Moss 3 upped the Iowa lead to 50-37, but the Gophers battled back to chop the deficit to four on three different occasions, the last time at 70-66 with 6:32 to go.
In addition to Coffey and Lynch, Minnesota also played without backup center Gaston Diedhiou. It had only eight scholarship players in uniform.
Iowa also was shorthanded as reserves Ryan Kriener and Brady Ellingson missed yet another game while undergoing concussion protocol. It is the fourth straight game Kriener has missed since colliding with an official in a Jan. 17 game at Rutgers. Ellingson, who suffered his concussion in practice, missed his third straight game.