No. 4 Iowa loses late lead, falls to Minnesota in overtime

The Hawkeye men’s basketball team drops to 7-2 on the season and 1-1 in Big Ten play.


Katie Goodale

Iowa guard CJ Fredrick makes a three-point shot during the Iowa v. Western Illinois basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Iowa defeated Western Illinois with a final score of 99-58.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The No. 4 Iowa men’s basketball team led Minnesota by seven points with 44 seconds remaining in regulation on Friday. After a late Gopher comeback, the Hawkeyes lost by seven in overtime.

Not exactly the Christmas present the Hawkeyes were hoping for.

Iowa missed free throws and allowed Minnesota players to convert on open shots from the perimeter to lose, 102-95, in Minneapolis.

“We gave it away,” said Iowa guard C.J. Fredrick, who scored 23 points. “We had this game won. That’s why this hurts. Also credit to them. They hit shots to end the game. But I think we just gave that one away.”

Minnesota cut Iowa’s lead to three with 19 seconds remaining in the second half. Iowa point guard Joe Toussaint received an inbounds pass and drew a foul, although officials missed a blatant travel that would have resulted in a Hawkeye turnover. Regardless, five seconds had been drained off the clock, and Toussaint had two free throw attempts to all but close out Iowa’s victory.

The sophomore missed them both.

On the second off-the-mark shot, Minnesota secured the rebound, and Marcus Carr hit a 3-pointer in transition to tie the game with five seconds remaining. Carr finished with 30 points, including six 3-pointers, on the night.

Iowa’s attempt to win the game was no good. Jordan Bohannon’s deep 3-pointer missed everything, and the Hawkeyes and Gophers went to overtime tied at 83.

In the extra period, Minnesota’s Brandon Johnson scored the team’s first 12 points. The Gophers scored on their first possession, and controlled most of the final five minutes of play for the victory.

Iowa falls to 7-2 on the season (1-1 in the Big Ten and 0-2 in games away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena), while Minnesota improves to 8-1.

Johnson, who was 2-of-10 shooting 3-pointers this season coming into the game, scored 26 points and hit eight of his nine shots from beyond the arc against the Hawkeyes. Carr is Minnesota’s star, but Johnson continued to make the most of lapses by the Hawkeye defense and drain the shot opportunities he was given.

“Obviously we didn’t expect him to go 8-for-9 [from 3-point range],” Fredrick said. “But once a guy gets rolling, you have to adjust. It doesn’t matter what his percentage is. He was feeling it and we just let him get too comfortable.”

Minnesota led early in the game and held Iowa to a season-low 33 points in the first half. The Gophers led by five at the break.

Star center Luka Garza was held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting through the first 20 minutes of game time. Although some of that relatively poor performance was self-inflicted.

“I was just missing layups,” Garza said. “They did a good job on me, crowding me. But I was just missing the shots that I normally make. I got a little frustrated. A couple bounced out on me… Credit to them for their game plan but I was just missing layups. I need to do better for my team.

“We would have been in a way better position if I was just finishing my moves and scoring. We would have been up at half instead of down. That’s on me. I have to be better in the future.”

Garza rebounded in the second half and finished the game with 32 points and 17 boards.

As a team, the Hawkeyes also started to command the game in the second half, using a 10-0 run to take a 45-40 lead. But the Gophers kept it close and made the most out of the opportunities they were given late. The Hawkeyes can’t say the same.

“We have to be tougher,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “Gotta be more connected, ready at the start. Just have to be better. We weren’t very good tonight… Our defense tonight was unacceptable.”

In Iowa’s previous game, it held Purdue to 55 points. McCaffery and the team’s players called it their best defensive performance of the season.

But three days after that Iowa victory, the Hawkeyes gave up 102 points, a mark that won’t be good enough to win games in the Big Ten.

“We were terrible defensively the entire game and we had it won,” Garza said. “If we play a little bit better defensively I don’t think the game is even close. Credit to them. They hit their shots. And we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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