Through 26 games, Iowa avoided losing consecutive contests and to a team not ranked in the Top 25. Both streaks ended Tuesday night.
Minnesota sliced through the Hawkeyes for a 95-89 win in Big Ten action at Williams Arena. The Golden Gophers scored the most points against Iowa since Michigan blew it out, 95-67, in January of 2013.
Minnesota (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten) shot a blistering 61.2 percent (30-49) from the floor, including 11 of 19 (61.1) on three-pointers. Austin Hollins made 8 of 9 shots from the floor, including 4 of 6 treys to lead the Golden Gophers with 29 points.
Roy Devyn Marble paced the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes with 24 points (19 first half). The senior handed out seven assist and had two steals. He turned it over four times. Aaron White added 21 points and eight rebounds to go with five steals in a losing effort.
"They were hot but we weren't doing the necessary things to run them off of the three-point line. You have to give them credit but I think we could have made a couple of adjustments."
Iowa dropped a 79-75 game to Wisconsin Saturday at home. McCaffery voiced his displeasure with his team's defense after that game.
The Hawkeyes raced to a 32-21 lead with 7:48 to play in the first half on Tuesday. Iowa then became complacent on both ends of the court.
"We were up and then they went on fire but that's when you need to crack down a little bit better, not only in terms of what you do defensively but also on offense in terms of making sure we keep them on D; making sure we better shot; those kinds of things,'" McCaffery said on the Hawkeye Radio Network.
The Gophers led by four at halftime. They expanded it to 80-67 with 8:23 left in the game.
Iowa battled back and cut its deficit to two with 1:30 to play. It's as close as they would get. Minnesota sank 13 of 14 free throw attempts in the final minute and a half.
The Hawkeyes return to action Thursday night at Indiana (8 p.m., ESPN). It's a make-up for game postponed last week when a piece of the Assembly Hall roof fell into the stands before the action started. The facility is deemed safe to play.
Senior Melsahn Basabe missed his second game in a row Tuesday. He's suffering from a stomach bug. McCaffery said he hoped his senior would return against the Hoosiers.
Josh Oglesby started in Basabe's place Tuesday and scored 16 points after netting 17 against Wisconsin.
The loss drops the Hawkeyes into a fifth-place tie with Nebraska. The top four teams in the regular season get a bye in next month's Big Ten Tournament.
Thursday's game in Bloomington gains added importance with the loss at Minnesota.
"We'll be ready to go," White said. "Indiana is an up-and-down team, but they play well at home. We know they're going to have the crowd behind them. We're going to get their best shot but we'll be ready to go."