Wed, 25 May 2022

Iowa's Murray twins could be double trouble for Minnesota

Field Level Media
16 Jan 2022, 03:19 GMT+10

Minnesota seeks to end a three-game losing streak and get a much-needed Big Ten win when it hosts Iowa on Sunday in Minneapolis.

The Golden Gophers (10-4, 1-4 Big Ten) are coming off a 71-69 loss at No. 10 Michigan State on Wednesday. Joey Hauser made a shot from the low post with a tenth of a second left to give the Spartans (14-2, 5-0) their second win over Minnesota this season.

Eric Curry recorded a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds before a left ankle injury forced him to the bench in the final minute. He's a game-time decision to face Iowa (12-4, 2-3) on Sunday, according to coach Ben Johnson.

E.J. Stephens had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, Payton Willis added 15 points and two blocks and Jamison Battle chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Johnson said he's seen improvement in his team, even if it isn't evident in the standings. Minnesota is among five teams that entered the weekend with one or fewer Big Ten wins.

"We've slowly figured out how to play in this league to give yourself a chance with physicality and mental toughness," he said. "We're in a growing process with a lot of guys who have never been here. That's the fun part of this group because you can see it develop."

Battle averages a team-high 17.9 points per game, while Willis averages a team-high 3.6 assists to go along with 15.8 points per game. Curry leads the team in rebounding (6.8) to go along with 8.7 points per game.

Iowa is coming off an 83-74 win over visiting Indiana on Thursday. Kris Murray seized the spotlight while his twin -- the nation's leading scorer Keegan Murray -- was in foul trouble.

Kris Murray went 12-for-18 shooting off the bench to record his first double-double with a career-highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds for Iowa. The Hawkeyes rallied from a 48-41 halftime deficit by outscoring the Hoosiers 42-26 in the second half.

"I kept telling him, shoot it, drive it. If you miss, run back, block a shot, get a rebound," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "Don't let it linger on you."

Keegan Murray, who entered the game averaging 24.7 points per game, finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Bohannon added 11 points and Tony Perkins chipped in eight points.

Iowa has four players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Keegan Murray (23.9), who also leads the team in rebounding (8.0), steals (1.5) and blocks (2.1) per game. Bohannon averages 10.8 points per game, followed by Patrick McCaffrey and Kris Murray, who each average 10.7.

"We have a team that really communicates well with each other," Fran McCaffrey said.

--Field Level Media

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