Minnesota 102, No. 5 Iowa 95 OT: Here's what we learned
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Some day, Minnesota forward Brandon Johnson will miss a 3-point attempt.
But not on Christmas Day, on his home court at Williams Arena in overtime.
The No. 5 Iowa basketball team ventured into an enemy gymnasium for the first time this season Friday, and was a very generous guest. The Hawkeyes rallied from down 12 to take a seven-point lead into the final minute of regulation, and then watched the Gophers rally to force overtime, where Johnson took over and the hosts earned a 102-95 win.
Johnson made 8 of 9 3-pointers, including four straight in the extra session. Marcus Carr had 30 points for Minnesota (8-1, 1-1 Big Ten Conference), including the 3-pointer that forced overtime tied 83-83. Iowa point guard Joe Toussaint had missed a pair of free throws right before that.
The Hawkeyes (7-2, 1-1) got 32 points from center Luka Garza and 23 from shooting guard CJ Fredrick. But they couldn't stop Minnesota when it mattered, giving up 26 points in the final 5 minutes and 44 seconds.
The Big Ten is the best league in the nation this winter, and Iowa learned firsthand Tuesday that there will be no easy victories, even for a top-five team. Everything must be earned. Minnesota earned this one.
Here's what we learned:
Hawkeyes passive on both ends
Iowa, with the most efficient offense in the nation entering play, missed an astonishing nine shots in a row in the first half. Minnesota went on a 12-1 run to get a double-digit lead. It was similar to a first-half stretch against Gonzaga on Dec. 19. But it was also noticeable how little pressure Iowa was putting on the Gophers on the other end of the court, at the same time. The Hawkeyes were aggressive and physical Tuesday in a home win against Purdue. On Friday, they let the Gophers get comfortable, and confident. Iowa didn’t force a single turnover until late in the first half. If Minnesota had been a better shooting team (the Gophers were 14 of 36, 39% in the half), the lead at intermission might have been insurmountable for Iowa.
Joe Wieskamp provides spark
Instead, Iowa trailed only 38-33, thanks to a late scoring outburst by Joe Wieskamp. The junior forward made four free throws and a 3-point basket from the corner in the final two minutes of the half to eat into what had been a 12-point Gophers’ lead. With all-American center Luka Garza struggling for the first time this season (five points on 2 of 11 shooting), the Hawkeyes needed their next-best player to give them life, and Wieskamp did.
Luka Garza responds, as always
Garza hadn't been that out of sorts since a poor first half against Penn State in a home game in February. He was 3 of 16 at intermission in that one, only to score 17 second-half points to lead Iowa to victory. Guess what? Garza did it again Friday. His 3-pointer early in the second half put the Hawkeyes back in the lead. Later, he reeled off six consecutive points keep Iowa in front. No one can keep Garza in check for a full 40 minutes. Or 45. Just ask the Gophers.
Iowa next hosts Northwestern at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.