The Iowa coach didn't want to say the wrong thing about a late jump-ball call.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The refs missed it.
That's the most accurate way to put it.
With just under 22 seconds left in regulation and Iowa ahead, 77-75, Iowa’s Brady Ellingson was audibly heard via Big Ten Network microphones calling for timeout while holding the ball near the baseline under Minnesota’s basket.
Jordan Bohannon, who was running toward the action, was yelling for timeout, too.
Yet, none was granted.
“Yeah, me and Brady (both were yelling for timeout),” Bohannon said. “I know Brady was calling timeout. It was just loud. There was people around the refs. It wasn’t able to be heard, I guess.”
Official Chris Beaver not only didn’t give the timeout, he also ruled a jump ball — even though replays showed the Gophers’ Jordan Murphy, whose hands were on the ball, standing out of bounds.
The alternate-possession arrow gave the ball to Minnesota. It meant a Hawkeye turnover with a two-point lead and the shot clock turned off; otherwise, Iowa would’ve had the chance to salt the game away with free throws.
Ellingson, who is a 100 percent free throw shooter (18-for-18), was more frustrated with himself than the officials.
He was heard on TV to ask for timeout on a key late sequence.
“I thought they were going to foul, so I kind of held onto it,” Ellingson said. “You never want to leave a game up for the refs to make a call. I should’ve called timeout right away.”
Iowa’s entire coaching staff was upset; Fran McCaffery and all three assistants burst onto the raised-floor court, vehemently pleading their case to the officials.
The subsequent layup by Nate Mason with 9 seconds left tied the score at 77-77 and forced overtime. The Gophers would win in double overtime, 101-89.
McCaffery repeatedly cut off a reporter’s attempt to ask about his viewpoint of the play. Coaches can be fined for publicly criticizing officials.
“I can’t. I can’t,” McCaffery said as different questions on the topic were asked. “Just don’t do it.”
McCaffery had reason to be upset. McCaffery had even alerted referees that if Iowa got the ball back, he wanted to get a timeout. So it had to be maddening that, in that very common situation where a player calls timeout, officials weren't looking for it.
“To be honest, I thought we had won the game (in regulation),” Iowa's Peter Jok said. “We called timeout. Coach told the ref we were going to call timeout when we got the ball back. You could hear Brady call timeout.”
Instead, the Hawkeyes suffered a second double-overtime road loss — the other coming at Nebraska on Jan. 5.
“It’s how the game goes sometimes,” Ellingson said.
Moss gets aggressive
Isaiah Moss had been a bit of a forgotten man of late, but in the first half he was about the only good thing Iowa had going at times.
Moss accounted for Iowa’s first 11 points — seven points, two assists — and at the under-4 timeout had half (12) of the team’s points (24). The 6-foot-5 swingman delivered a pair of thunderous dunks and showed range in offsetting a quiet first half from the team's, and conference's, leading scorer Peter Jok (two points, two fouls).
“My teammates got me the ball,” said Moss, a man of few words in interviews, “and told me to shoot it.”
The Hawkeye freshman scored 18 points at Minnesota
Moss’ first-half performance was reminiscent of his Jan. 5 first-half explosion at Nebraska, when he scored 15 points in the opening 20 minutes to keep Iowa close. In that game, Jok was slow to start, too, with 30 of his 34 points coming after halftime.
Moss played 37 minutes in Lincoln, but hadn’t played more than 19 in any of the Hawkeyes’ eight games since, despite starting them all. That included a six-minute, zero-point outing at Illinois.
That changed Wednesday. Moss topped the 20-minute mark and the redshirt freshman ended up with 19 points, his highest in a Big Ten game.
When he’s on, he’s on. But even in this game, McCaffery went with a lineup that didn’t include Moss (for the most part) down the stretch. The group of Bohannon, Jok, Ellingson, Cordell Pemsl and Nicholas Baer helped fuel a rally from a 13-point deficit.
“It’s a little frustrating, but I know Coach is trying to do the best he can to win the game,” Moss said. “So I understand.”
McCaffery praised Moss’ performance.
“He was tremendous. And he was tremendous in the second half,” McCaffery said. “But then when we had that one lineup, he was out. I would’ve liked to have gotten him in a little bit more because of how he played. But once we had that one group that was cooking — I put him back in a little bit — but then it’s hard, sometimes getting back in the flow.”
Bohannon steady as usual
Jordan Bohannon, who hit nine 3-pointers in wins over Rutgers and Nebraska to earn Big Ten freshman of the week honors, didn’t attempt a 3-pointer until 11:06 remained in the second half.
Good Minnesota defense? Yes.
The Iowa guard gives his vantage point on a key moment late in regulation at Minnesota
But Bohannon remained patient with his game. And he finished with 12 points on 5 of 11 shooting with eight assists and one turnover in a career-high 45 minutes, despite going against one of the league’s top players in Nate Mason.
“We knew they were going to chase on pin-down screens, so we were curling them a lot, trying to get the big man to roll,” Bohannon said. “They were flying out on me most of the night.”
Big man Ryan Kriener is still adjusting to life in the Big Ten. Or maybe the Big Ten is adjusting to him.
Kriener had a rough go in the first half as McCaffery looked for a spark. The 6-foot-9 freshman from Spirit Lake missed all three shot attempts in his five minutes of action, including a wide-open 5-footer that he usually hits.
Kriener, basically McCaffery’s 11th man, had delivered some nice outings recently — six big points in the year’s signature win vs. Purdue, and 14 points twice (at Northwestern, vs. Ohio State). But in his last three games, getting on a roll has been a challenge.
He had zero points and four fouls in seven minutes at Rutgers; zero points on 0-for-2 shooting in five minutes vs. Nebraska; and then Wednesday, he didn’t play after halftime.