Ranked in the top 10 in the nation in points, assists and rebounds, the Iowa Hawkeyes have the talent to do a little bit of everything. But with 1:13 to go in the first half of Sunday afternoon’s home game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Hawkeyes found themselves down 10 points (43-33), and far off their usual scoring pace (86.4 ppg).
Iowa, however, didn’t panic, and by the time halftime arrived, the Hawkeyes had not only erased the deficit, but had taken the lead (43-41). The second half was an offensive clinic by Iowa, as the Hawkeyes posted 53 points in 20 minutes to blow out Minnesota, 93-73.
While the accepted motto may be that defense wins championships and offense sells tickets, Iowa’s offense is good enough to do far more than sell tickets. The Hawkeyes have topped the 80-point mark 15 times this season, including twice in games Iowa has lost. And while the Hawkeyes’ high-octane attack gained a lot of notoriety early in the season in a 98-93 victory over Notre Dame, Iowa has overpowered teams that very much like to slow things down, too. When Northwestern visited Iowa on Jan. 9, Iowa blasted the normally tight-guarding Wildcats 93-67.
Iowa’s national reputation got a deserved boost last weekend when the Hawkeyes hit the road and upset then-No. 3 Ohio State, 84-74. So, we already knew that Iowa can score like crazy at home — the Hawkeyes are averaging an insane 90.3 ppg inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. We also now know the Hawkeyes can dictate tempo against strong defensive teams like Northwestern, who, by the way, won at Indiana on Saturday 54-47. And we also know that Iowa can take their offensive show on the road with the win at Ohio State and even in a loss at Iowa State, where the Hawkeyes fell 85-82.
Against Minnesota, Iowa (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten), two players stood out in leading the trademark offensive attack. Roy Devyn Marble scored nine points in the opening two minutes, six seconds of the second half, including back-to-back three-pointers that gave Iowa a 52-46 lead and forced Minnesota to call a time out. Then, Aaron White took over, hitting a couple lay-ups as part of six points in three minutes before the Golden Gophers called time again. By then, it was 62-53 Hawkeyes, and the Gophers (14-5, 3-3) never got closer than six the rest of the game.
Down the stretch, Iowa scored 21 points in the final 7:50 to pull away, a 40-minute pace equaling 107 points, something no one in the Big Ten is able to match. Continued play like what Iowa showed Sunday will keep the Hawkeyes in contention in the Big Ten, especially with Iowa already having that win at Ohio State under its belt.
Next up for Iowa is a tough game at Michigan (13-4, 5-0) on Wednesday that will really show if the Hawkeyes are a force to be reckoned with at the top of the Big Ten.