The Iowa coach didn't want to say the wrong thing about a late jump-ball call.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — That aching back that kept Peter Jok out of the Iowa lineup for two games?
The senior guard put his Hawkeye teammates up on it for a key stretch of the second half Wednesday against Minnesota, igniting a run that turned the game around and eventually forced two overtimes.
Iowa ultimately came up short at Williams Arena, falling 101-89 for its second 50-minute road loss of the Big Ten Conference season. The Hawkeyes also fell, 93-90, in double overtime at Nebraska on Jan. 5.
Jok scored 24 of his game-high 28 points in the final 12 minutes of regulation to help Iowa push the Gophers deep into the night.
The Iowa senior had 26 of his 28 points after halftime.
“My teammates told me, ‘You’ve got to step up and lead us,’” Jok said. “I got a few easy baskets and that got me going.”
The Hawkeyes used a small lineup and an aggressive zone press to trap Minnesota into a series of mistakes. That led to a 14-0 run and a lead that Iowa just couldn’t hold onto.
A key moment came with 20.3 seconds remaining in regulation and Iowa (14-11, 6-6 Big Ten) leading 77-75. Hawkeyes guard Brady Ellingson had the ball deep in his backcourt, anticipating that he would be fouled. He then tried to call timeout when two Gopher defenders trapped him, but the referees didn’t award him one, instead calling a jump ball that gave possession back to Minnesota. Gophers guard Nate Mason drove for the layup that tied the score and forced overtime with 8.4 seconds left.
“I know Brady was calling timeout but it was just loud and there was people around the refs,” said Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon, who was running toward the play also trying to get a timeout. “It wasn’t able to be heard, I guess.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was livid, but didn’t want to address the officiating after the game.
Jok said the non-call didn’t linger for the Hawkeyes, but he brought it up twice during his postgame comments, saying: “I thought we won the game already.”
Iowa had more chances to do just that. Bohannon took the final shot of regulation, but he was under intense pressure and could only fling up an off-balance attempt that was off target.
The Iowa guard gives his vantage point on a key moment late in regulation at Minnesota
“You’ve got to assess everything that’s going on, all the defenders coming at you. I saw a second left on the clock. They were heavy-guarding Pete so I wasn’t able to get him the ball, so I thought I’d just put up a shot,” said Bohannon, a freshman point guard. “I guess I could have called a timeout, now that we go through and assess what happened late in the game.”
The Hawkeyes fought back back from an early five-point deficit in the first overtime to tie the score on a Bohannon 17-foot jump shot with 1:34 left. The first overtime ended with the score tied 84-84.
Bohannon’s 3-pointer early in the second overtime gave Iowa its last lead, at 87-86. Minnesota (17-7, 5-6) closed the game on a 15-2 run.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Hawkeyes.
He was heard on TV to ask for timeout on a key late sequence.
The Gophers were led by 25 points and 19 rebounds from forward Jordan Murphy.
Iowa got 19 points from freshman guard Isaiah Moss, his best outing in a Big Ten game. Bohannon added 12 points and eight assists, with only one turnover, in 45 minutes.
“It’s disappointing in a lot of ways. But I thought we showed tremendous fight. We were much better in the second half defensively. We had great activity level. We ran. We moved the ball, I thought, extremely well, made good decisions with our dribble penetration,” McCaffery said. “You’ve just got to give them credit. They kept fighting, too.”
That fight for Iowa began with a timeout McCaffery called with 11:52 remaining and Minnesota leading 56-43.
That’s when he went with a lineup of Cordell Pemsl at center, Nicholas Baer at forward, and Ellingson, Jok and Bohannon in the backcourt.
“I think we were just a lot more active with our hands. We were more active with our feet. We were trying to fake them out at halfcourt, get them to pick up their dribble,” Bohannon said of the ensuing pressure defense.
As for the message in that timeout, Bohannon said:
“In the entire first half, we didn’t really make a run. We wanted to make that run. We wanted to at least put up a fight. We came here for a reason. We were finally able to do that.”
It worked for the next 17 minutes. But Minnesota wouldn’t back down either.
Iowa next plays at Michigan State on Saturday.