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College Basketball: Iowa rallies past Minnesota

Iowa's Bryce Cartwright, center, drives to the basket between Minnesota's Elliott Eliason, left, and guard Chip Armelin during the first half Wednesday in Iowa City, Iowa. Associated Press

By Luke Meredith

AP Sports Writer

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Senior Matt Gatens scored 18 points and Iowa rallied to beat Minnesota 63-59 on Wednesday night and snap a three-game losing streak.

Devyn Marble added 12 points for the Hawkeyes, who overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and closed the game on a 9-0 run.

Iowa's Deyvn Marble followed a 3-pointer with an emphatic one-handed dunk to tie the game at 59 with 1:43 left. Bryce Cartwright gave the Hawkeyes (12-11, 4-6 Big Ten) the lead with a pair of free throws, and Gatens hit a layup with eight seconds left to seal the victory.

Minnesota (16-7, 4-6) lost despite shooting 10 of 19 from 3-point range. Ralph Sampson III had 13 to lead the Gophers, who lost for just the second time in six games.

This was the epitome of a back-and-forth affair, as both teams built and blew double-digit leads in less than one half.

Minnesota kicked off the wackiness with about as bad of a start as it could imagine. The Gophers fell behind by as much as 15-3 midway through in the first half -- only to turn that deficit into a 10-point lead midway through the final half.

Iowa missed 12 of its first 15 shots to start the second half, and Minnesota took advantage by slowly but surely building its lead to 45-35 when Andre Hollins buried a step-back jumper from 15 feet.

The Hawkeyes answered with a quick 9-0 run before a 3-pointer from Julian Welch put the Gophers ahead 48-44 with 8:41 left. Iowa took its first lead of the second half when Melsahn Basabe, who came off the bench after starting nearly all season, hit a pair of free throws to make it 51-50 Iowa. But Welch answered with another 3, and Hollins drained a long 3 that put the Gophers back on top 56-53 with 4:03 left.

Welch had 12 points and Hollins added 11 for Minnesota, which was outscored in the paint 30-10 and shut out in the final 3:24.

The Hawkeyes and Gophers had taken markedly different paths since Iowa upset Minnesota 64-62 in Minneapolis on Jan. 4.

The Gophers lost once more at home, to Purdue, to drop to 0-4 in the Big Ten. But they won four of their next five, including a 77-74 victory at Indiana, to resurrect what had been fading hopes for an NCAA tournament bid.

The Hawkeyes came home from that win over the Gophers and got blasted by Ohio State 76-47, which kicked off a stretch of four losses in five games. The bottom fell out in a 103-89 loss last weekend to Indiana, which shot 55 percent from the floor and grabbed a staggering 20 offensive rebounds.

Iowa answered for the 103 it gave up to the Hoosiers by allowing just 3 to the Gophers in the first nine minutes. But Minnesota snapped out of its funk in a hurry, reeling off a 16-5 run to pull within 20-19 late in the first half.

The Gophers, aided by a suddenly generous Iowa defense and an equally sputtering offense, took a 27-24 lead at halftime on an Andre Hollins 3 with 1:11 to go.

It wouldn't last, as Iowa rallied in the final three minutes to keep its head above .500.