IOWA CITY (AP) - Tubby Smith sounded like all college basketball coaches at this point in the season.
"It was a hard-fought win for us," he said of No. 22 Minnesota's 52-49 victory over Iowa on Thursday night. "We had a tough time shooting the ball, but anytime you can get a win on the road in this league, it's a good win."
Once conference play begins all wins are obviously good - but those that come away from home allow teams to make a run at a league title.
The Golden Gophers (14-1, 2-1 Big Ten) won their second straight since losing to Michigan State in their conference opener. They shot just 33.9 percent from the field and nearly let their second road win of the season slip away in the closing seconds.
"It was really, really, really ugly. But whenever you win you can't get too mad," Lawrence Westbrook said. "I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty."
The Gophers, who trailed by 13 points in the first half, led 50-44 with 24.5 seconds left.
Iowa's Jake Kelly scored and Al Nolen of Minnesota then missed two free throws. Jeff Peterson buried an open 3 from the corner with 5.3 seconds left to make it a one-point game, but Westbrook hit two free throws.
Kelly's last-gasp effort for the Hawkeyes (11-5, 1-2) from just inside halfcourt bounced off the rim as the clock expired.
Peterson had 16 points for Iowa, which managed one field goal in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
"There was a stretch in the second half where I thought we were very passive, and when we tried to be aggressive our decision making wasn't good," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said.
Cyrus Tate, the only Hawkeye averaging over four rebounds a game, sprained his ankle midway through the first half and didn't return.
The Gophers missed 15 of their first 19 shots and Iowa took advantage to go up 23-10 with 4:57 left in the half.
"They came out firing. This is a big game for them. We're a ranked team," Westbrook said.