MINNEAPOLIS -- A game that appeared to be on its way to being a blowout turned out to be a nail biter. However, Minnesota did not complain after Austin Hollins hit a 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds to play and made a key defensive play on Sunday to complete a 62-59 victory over Iowa. The Gophers jumped to a double-digit lead in the opening minutes, but Minnesota trailed for much of the second half before scoring the final seven points of the game. After Hollins hit the go-ahead 3-pointer, he forced Iowa guard Mike Gesell into a turnover in the final seconds. Minnesota then made two free throws to ensure it would avoid the upset loss and secure an important victory. Austin Hollins led Minnesota with 17 points, Andre Hollins added 14 and Joe Coleman finished with 12. Gesell led Iowa with 11 points while Zach McCabe and Aaron White each scored 10. The victory was the second in a row for the Gophers (17-5, 5-4 in the Big Ten) and allows Minnesota to get back above .500 in Big Ten play at the midway point of the conference season. Iowa (14-8, 3-6) has lost three of four heading for a Wednesday night game at Wisconsin. Iowa seemed to be on its way to the upset when Josh Oglesby completed a 3-point play with 2:10 to play that gave the Hawkeyes a 59-55 lead. Iowa, however, wouldn't score again. Coleman cut the Hawkeyes lead to 59-57 on a basket with 1:45 remaining. After both teams turned the ball over, Minnesota called timeout with 13.6 seconds to play, trailing by two. While the Gophers haven't always been efficient on inbounds plays, Minnesota coach Tubby Smith drew up a play that got Hollins open in the right corner. Hollins, son of Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, caught the ball, rose and his 3-pointer went through the net for the game winner. Iowa stayed in the game by shooting from the perimeter and forcing the Gophers to execute their halfcourt offense. The Hawkeyes shot 23 3-pointers, two off of their season high, and made seven. Iowa also made things difficult for the Gophers, who struggled to score after the opening minutes of the game. In the early minutes of the game, it looked as if Minnesota was going to have a second consecutive stress-free game. The Gophers opened the game on a 14-2 run over the first five minutes and Iowa didn't make its second field goal until Oglesby buried a 3-pointer with 13:35 in the half. But the Hawkeyes continued to chip away at Minnesota's lead. Iowa got within 19-18 when McCabe made a 3-pointer with 7:52 to play in the half. The rest of the first half remained close and Iowa trailed by one at the break, 29-28, after Gessell made a long-range shot with a little more than a minute remaining before halftime. NOTES: The game against Iowa was important for the Gophers, as Minnesota next travels to Michigan State. The Gophers haven't won in East Lansing since 1997 and have lost 13 consecutive road games to the Spartans. ... Iowa nearly reached its season high for 3-point shots in a game, 25 in a victory over Northern Iowa. ... Melsahn Basabe got his second-consecutive start for Iowa. The 6-7 junior forward has been the Hawkeyes' leading rebounder over the last few weeks. ... Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio was in attendance at the game.
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