Moss excels, but Hawkeyes fall short in battle at the Barn

Isaiah Moss posted another stellar performance at Minnesota, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Gophers from running with the lead.

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Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Isaiah Moss jumps for a lay-up during the men’s basketball game vs. Minnesota at Williams Arena on Sunday, January 27, 2019. The Gophers defeated the Hawkeyes 92-87.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

MINNEAPOLIS – Isaiah Moss loves playing basketball in Minneapolis – particularly at the Barn.

When playing at Williams Arena last season, Moss posted 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting, including 19 in the final 1:36. Unfortunately for the Chicago native, it ended in a loss for his squad.

Once again, Moss found his game at Minnesota full of buckets, but for the second year in a row, it ended in a loss for Iowa, as the Golden Gophers (15-5, 5-4 Big Ten) shot 57 percent on their way to a 92-87 win over the Hawkeyes (16-5, 5-5 Big Ten).

Moss got started early for Iowa, hitting the first two Hawkeye 3s, as Iowa began 3-of-3 from downtown and 5-of-6 from the field.

He finished with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (6-of-10 from 3) to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

But the Gophers seemed to match everything the Hawkeyes did, also starting 5-of-6 from the field and expanding on that mark by scoring 55 points by halftime.

Iowa kept it close throughout the first half. Its biggest deficit was 9 points, which is what the Minnesota lead was at heading into the half after a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Jordan Murphy.

The Hawkeyes scored 46 in the first, but the Minnesota offense was cooking, keeping the lead despite Moss’ big shots.

While Moss’ outburst was certainly a bright spot for Iowa, he was not as impressed with his performance.

RELATED: Defense nowhere to be found for Iowa basketball

“I would give myself a ‘C,’” Moss said. “I think I could’ve did more on the defensive end to help my team… Offensively, I had a good game, but defense is what wins games.”

The Hawkeye defense continued to fail early in the second half; the Gophers got their lead up to 16 with 5:50 in the second half.

But Iowa battled back with a 14-3 run to cut the Minnesota lead to just 4 with a little over a minute and a half remaining.

Then Tyler Cook pulled down a defensive rebound and emulated a point guard, going from one end of the floor to the other, before losing the ball and turning it over to effectively put the game away.

“Typically, I’m OK with him going coast-to-coast,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “That was obviously not a real good decision under the circumstances. He’s just got to learn from that.”

A dunk and a few free throws put the game on ice, and the Gophers escaped their home court with a victory.

Iowa didn’t have a problem putting the ball in the hoop throughout the night, but its performance on the other end of the floor led to its demise.

“Offensively, we were fine the whole night,” forward Luka Garza said. “They couldn’t stop us from scoring, we just couldn’t stop them. It’s just upsetting, because that’s a team we know we’re better than.”

Garza ended up being another stellar producer for Iowa. His 25-point, 3-rebound performance combined with Cook’s 18-point, 9-board outing made for a solid night inside, but it wasn’t enough, as Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp combined for 5 points.

At one point in the second half, the entire starting lineup found itself on the bench looking on, hoping to get within striking distance of Minnesota, while a lineup of Connor McCaffery, Maishe Dailey, Nicholas Baer, Riley Till, and Ryan Kriener entered the game.

“We don’t have the type of guys who will sit on the bench and be pissed at Coach,” Cook said. “We know just as much, if not more than Coach knows when we’re playing bad.

“He’s making a statement, quote-unquote, if you want to say that, but those guys are more than capable of getting the job done as well.”

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