INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Minnesota’s Vincent Grier had the highlight-reel dunks and the most points. Iowa’s Jeff Horner got the win.
Horner scored 26 points to lead No. 20 Iowa to a 67-57 victory over Minnesota on Friday in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. Horner’s six 3-pointers tied a tournament record. He also had six assists, six rebounds and five steals.
Grier led Minnesota with 29 points, the eighth-highest total in tournament history, and had two big-time dunks in the second half to keep the Golden Gophers in the game. But Horner’s Hawkeyes will play Michigan State or Illinois in the semifinals Saturday.
“Jeff can get going,” Iowa coach Steve Alford said. “I don’t think it was any particular thing that Minnesota didn’t do or that we did. It was just hard for them to stop him, like it was hard for us to stop Vince.”
With Iowa leading 39-35 in the second half, Grier dribbled right, came back left and threw down an impressive left-handed slam with 13:50 left. He completed the three-point play to cut Iowa’s lead to 39-38.
Minnesota (15-14) carried the momentum from Grier’s dunk to a 45-41 lead, but Horner responded with two free throws and a 3-pointer to put second-seeded Iowa (23-8) ahead for good. Greg Brunner scored six points in an 11-4 run that gave the Hawkeyes a 59-51 lead.
Grier later had a two-handed jam to cut Iowa’s lead to 61-55 with 2:18 left. He set a tournament record with 13 field goals, but the rest of the Golden Gophers shot 9-for-37. His teammates shot 1-for-14 in the second half, and he was the only Golden Gopher to reach double figures.
“Coach had challenged me to come out early and get some buckets,” Grier said. “The basket just got bigger. In the end result, it really doesn’t count because we didn’t get the win.”
“I know Vince pretty well,” Horner said. “Once he gets going, look out. He’s definitely one of the best in the Big Ten.”
Horner had more help than Grier. Brunner scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and Erek Hansen added nine points and eight rebounds.
“They did a really good job of getting us stretched as we tried to chase Horner around, and they slipped into some layups,” Minnesota coach Dan Monson said.
Horner and Grier went back and forth in the closing minutes of the first half. Grier scored two buckets to cut Iowa’s lead to 27-25, then Horner came right back with a 3-pointer. Minnesota’s Adam Boone made a 3-pointer and Zach Puchtel scored to tie it at 30 at halftime.
Iowa shot 63 percent in the second half while Minnesota shot 32 percent.
“We were very fortunate to grind out a win,” Alford said. “We got it the way we won a lot of games this year, with our defense.”